Saturday, November 25, 2017

Is UEFA charge against Rangers unfair?

Unfairly picked on?

Nobody likes fans singing offensive, racist, abusive or sectarian songs and it is absolutely right that the game and the police should get on top of the problem and stop it happening. So in theory I have no problem with the news that Rangers are to face a UEFA disciplinary hearing over allegations of sectarian singing during last month’s Europa League match away to PSV Eindhoven.

Singled

The problem is that Rangers are hardly the only club in Europe who have fans that do such things and I’m not quite sure why they have been singled out. Despite the commonly held belief that Scottish fans are well behaved when they travel, this is not the first time Rangers fans have been in the spotlight. They were fined £8,280 by Uefa for their fans’ behaviour during a match against Osasuna in May 2007, and there were also the terrible scenes in Manchester when they made it to the UEFA Cup Final a couple seasons ago.

Ominously for Rangers, UEFA have made it clear that past matters will be considered. They said it would take into account previous misdemeanours by Rangers fans when the disciplinary hearing is held. Head of communications Rob Faulkener said there was a clause in its disciplinary regulations stipulating that any repeat of a similar offence within five years can be taken into account.

Upset

Rangers are understandably upset that they have been charged. The club has tried to stop the sectarian singing and have condemned it on a number of occasions. They believe there is little more they can do to stop it happening and feel that UEFA are singling them out for unjustifiable criticism.

Rangers Chief Executive Martin Bain said,

“We are not saying there is not a problem but we are saying that for many years now we have made strenuous attempts to address it. We do, however, believe that it is absurd to think that only Rangers supporters sing offensive or sectarian songs. That is patently not the case and we are left to conclude that there is a disproportionate focus on Rangers. It has also become clear that there are people who have been determined to undermine our club at any cost and have constantly lobbied Uefa and other organisations to take action against Rangers.”

Violent

I read about all sorts of violent and unpleasant behaviour by fans all over Europe. There have been several high profile cases of blatant racism, particularly in Spain and Eastern Europe that have gone largely unpunished by UEFA and it is a little difficult to understand why Rangers have been bought to task on this occasion.

As I say, I am fully behind the drive to eradicate this sort of behaviour, but if you are going to address it you need to do so across the board and not just be totally selective about who you are going punish. It seems to me that Rangers are probably easier target than the Eastern European clubs or the major clubs from Spain, Germany and England who UEFA might be less keen to upset.

Hearing

The hearing is to be held on 28 April.

Are UEFA being selective and unfair or have I got it wrong?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Graham Fisher


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John
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John

Very good article.

Can I point out that the Police in all the away venues praised the fans behaviour, as well as the UEFA delegates.

There is suspicion those who complained are not UEFA but fans in Scotland! Guess who?

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