Rangers to decline tickets in bid to stave off full Ibrox closure
Part of the Glasgow club’s stadium will be shut for the Europa League tie with Legia Warsaw as punishment for sectarian singing by fans.
Rangers have told UEFA chiefs they will not take up their ticket allocation for their next European trip in a bid to stave off a potential full stadium closure.
The Ibrox outfit have already been forced to close a section of 3,000 seats when they host Legia Warsaw on Thursday night as punishment for sectarian singing during their opening Europa League qualifier with St Joseph’s back in July.
But the Light Blues now face a more serious punishment after being told they are being issued with a fresh charge following sectarian chanting during last week’s goalless draw in Poland.
Gers put the blame for the St Joseph’s chants on the Union Bears group and their section at the front of the Broomloan Road Stand plus two others in the Club Deck will lie empty as they seek to reach their Europa League group stages against Legia.
Now club bosses have decided to decline tickets for their next away match and warned that any repeat of the banned songs could lead to Steven Gerrard’s side being forced to play future home matches behind closed doors.
A 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.
“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.”
Fan group Club 1872 later said in a statement: “Every single Rangers supporter must now take responsibility for promoting a positive image of our club and support.
“Ibrox is one of the most impressive arenas in European football when it is full and noisy. We have a host of ways to generate that unique atmosphere without reverting to songs which will see the club sanctioned.
“Let’s get Ibrox rocking on Thursday night and roar our team into the group stage of the Europa League.”