Rangers may be forced to play two European fixtures behind closed doors after attracting a second UEFA charge over alleged sectarian chanting.
The Scottish Premier League giants had already been charged by UEFA after their fans were accused of singing sectarian songs during their Europa League trip to PSV Eindhoven, but now Europe’s football governing body has opened a new case in relation to the return fixture in Scotland.
The result could be that the club is forced to play future European fixtures in front of no fans at Ibrox, while the club could also face a heavy fine if found guilty.
It has been revealed that a report from the Football Against Racism in Europe organisation triggered the investigation, with the UEFA match delegate, who was from Northern Ireland, not making a report on the alleged chanting at the time.
The reigning SPL champions are disappointed at UEFA’s decision and chief executive Martin Bain believes the club are victims of a ‘deliberate and targeted campaign’.
“We are absolutely astounded by this latest development and will defend our club’s position very, very vigorously,” Bain told Rangers’ official website.
“We are still in the process of preparing our submission on the away game and to be confronted with this now seems chaotic to say the least.”
“We have never said that sectarian singing is not a problem but this now has all the hallmarks of a deliberate and targeted campaign against the club.”
“What else are we expected to believe when UEFA officials give us favourable reports at our matches only to indict us later on the evidence of an outside, unaccountable body?”
Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan was also disappointed with the news, but revealed that Rangers would appeal any potential outcome.
“It is very sad for Scottish football that a decision like this has been made,” Regan told Sky Sports News.
“Clearly there are commercial implications for the club and nobody likes to see matches played behind closed doors.”
“I suppose – having attended the UEFA Congress in Paris a few weeks ago, where Michel Platini made it very clear that UEFA’s stance on racism and on sectarianism was going to involve a zero-tolerance approach – that they are carrying out their intention.”
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