Club's warning to fans
Rangers fear UEFA may close Ibrox due to sectarian singing
Rangers have warned their fans that further incidents of sectarian singing could lead to Ibrox being closed by UEFA.
The club issued the stark warning to supporters as it faces another charge of ‘racist behaviour’ following sectarian singing in the first leg of the Europa League play-off clash with Legia Warsaw in Poland.
The Govan outfit was ordered by UEFA to close a section of the ground for the return leg against the Poles tonight after sectarian singing in the home leg against St Joseph’s in an earlier round.
In response to this latest charge, a strongly-worded statement on the club website urged urged fans to desist from such ‘offensive’ behaviour, or face the severest of sanctions from European football’s governing body.
The Light Blues also revealed they will not be taking any allocation of tickets for its next away match in Europe.
The statement said: “Rangers has today informed UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body that the club will not be requesting tickets for its next European away match.
“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.”
The club recently launched its diversity and inclusion programme ‘Everyone Anyone’ and said behaviour such as sectarian singing was ‘insulting’, with the statement adding: “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.”
Steven Gerrard will be hoping to guide his team through to the group stages of the competition for the second season in a row having drawn the first leg 0-0.
Celtic, meanwhile, will also be confident of making the group stages this evening after defeating Swedes AIK 2-0 in the first leg at Parkhead.