Rangers hit with second UEFA charge over 'Racist Behaviour'
Ahead of Rangers’ crunch Europa League play-off tie against Legia Warsaw, UEFA have hit the Ibrox side with a second charge over ‘racist behaviour’.
It is Rangers’ second charge in just over a week, after being hit with a partial stadium closure previously after the club were punished for ‘racist behaviour’ - including sectarian singing during their Europa League clash with Gibraltar side St.Joseph’s last month.
The first charge saw the Ibrox side ordered to close a section of the stadium with around 3000 seats - resulting in the Union Bears section BF1 being closed down much to the anger of the self-styled Ultras group.
Following the announcement that Rangers would face a second charge from last week’s play-off tie against Legia Warsaw, the Ibrox side stated that they would not refuse tickets for their next European away game - whether that it is in the group stages of this year’s competition or the Europa League qualifiers next season is still to be seen.
A club statement published on the official Rangers website on Wednesday read: “The Club now faces an additional UEFA charge of racist behaviour for sectarian singing during the first leg of our Europa League play–off tie against Legia Warsaw last Thursday evening. We are liaising with UEFA in relation to this second charge.
“The first charge came after the match against St Joseph’s at Ibrox on Thursday, July 18. A consequence of sectarian singing from section BF1 of the ground that evening is that UEFA ordered a partial closure of our stadium for tomorrow night’s crucial game. 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 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. 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.
“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.
There is now a serious threat to Rangers being hit with a full stadium closure if the horde continue with their sectarian songbook in European competition.
Rangers’ decision to refuse tickets for their next European away tie looks to beat UEFA at imposing a full ban on their fans from attending the club’s next European away trip. It is reminiscent of Rangers 1872’s European ban after fans were found guilty of singing Sectarian songs during their tie with PSV Eindhoven - resulting in Rangers travelling to Sweden to face Malmo without an away support.
The fall out from UEFA’s two charges will almost certainly continue to rumble on with all eyes on Ibrox tomorrow night looking to see if the horde decide to shame their club and Scottish Football for a third time.
This latest sectarian issue at Rangers comes off the back of a resurfaced UEFA document which claimed that a Scottish FA official tried to help Ajax beat a UEFA charge over a ‘Fenian Bastards’ banner unfurled in a European tie against Celtic in 2013 - by claiming that ‘fenian bastards’ comments are just part of the game.
It will be interesting to see if the SPFL and/or the Scottish FA will issue a statement this time, after refusing to comment on the first charge last week.