Scottish Premiership football club Rangers has declared it will not accept away tickets from UEFA for its next European trip.
The governing body for football in Europe has warned the Old Firm franchise that its stadium could face full closure if it charged for any further sectarian singing during UEFA matches.
Rangers has already been required to close a 3,000-seat section at the 50,800-capacity Ibrox Stadium for its match against Legia Warsaw tonight (Thursday). This is a penalty for the club after its fans engaged in sectarian singing during their opening Europa League qualifier with St Joseph’s in July.
UEFA has also brought a second charge against the club after sectarian chants during its match in Poland last week, with the club pleading with offenders to “please stop.”
The club’s statement, which was directed at the singing fans: “You are endangering your club, which has recently launched its Everyone Anyone project aimed at welcoming all to Ibrox.
“Those who wish to sing offensive songs must realise by now that they are insulting Rangers players, staff, and fellow fans. There is nothing clever, bold or even defiant in what this small number of supporters are doing.”
The Rangers’ statement continued: “Those fans responsible for this partial closure of Ibrox Stadium need to understand that they are damaging our club. If there is a further incidence at tomorrow (Thursday) night’s match this could lead to a ground closure.
“The same applies to those who indulged in sectarian singing in Warsaw last week and that is why we have taken the decision to make UEFA aware that we will decline tickets for our next away match even though this means that, once again, the many must suffer because of the few.
“This kind of behaviour has no place at Ibrox, or anywhere else where our many teams appear. Offenders must please stop. You are endangering your Club which has recently launched its Everyone Anyone project aimed at welcoming all to Ibrox.
“By supporting Rangers in the correct way the rest of us must strive to protect our great Club. One way or another this offensive behaviour must end and it would be much more preferable if we stopped it ourselves, simply by behaving like true Rangers fans.”
Image: Brian Aitkenhead