Rangers have issued a warning to their own fans ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash with Manchester United. The official club statement said, “The Light Blues have been informed by a number of sources that sectarian behaviour will put the club at serious risk of punishment from UEFA and other footballing authorities. This includes the singing of songs such as the Billy Boys which is banned by UEFA.”
Rangers chief executive Martin Bain said, “The majority of our supporters agree that sectarian singing has no place at Rangers and, working together, the fans and the club have made great strides in recent years to address this behaviour. Indeed, a number of fans themselves have raised the issue of sectarian singing recently and the club made an appeal at our AGM for it to stop, which was overwhelmingly backed by those present. Unfortunately, there are still those who ignore the club and their fellow fans, with no regard for the consequences of their actions.”
Bain added, “We are making it very clear to supporters we have reliable information that if sectarian singing is evident at our matches, it will put the club at serious risk of punishment and also puts supporters at risk of arrest. Our position as a club is that we condemn all forms of sectarian behaviour and we are united with our supporters groups in trying to eradicate it. Fans who engage in such behaviour only let themselves, other supporters and the club down.”
Strathclyde Police also echoed the statement from Bain saying that anyone chanting bigoted songs run the risk of being arrested and banned.
Robin Howe, Chief Superintendent of Strathclyde Police and the Ibrox Match Commander, said, “Sectarian or racist behaviour is a criminal offence and those who persist in such behaviour risk arrest. We want all fans to enjoy tomorrow night’s match and take on board the information that is being given to them.”
Andy Kerr, of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, said, “Many fans are concerned at the increase in sectarian singing among a section of our support.”
European Governing Body, UEFA, have a dossier of previous sectarian incidents at Ibrox and abroad, and will be keeping a watchful eye on the stadium tonight. Rangers were fined £21,000 after their fans were found guilty of sectarian chanting during their game against Spanish side Villareal.
Fans comments on the issue vary from those slamming Bain’s comments, while there are fans who do back the statement.
It is time to wake up and realise that the Billy Boys while a great anthem, is bullet to our own head. If you want to see Rangers fined, closed stands or worse by UEFA, go ahead and sing it. I have said for long enough now that it is dead and buried, and a battle that has long since been lost. – Eddie Badabing
For a guy who has rose so high in business it is truely amazing how unaware Bain is of PR. In a week like this the mhedia can only be waiting for something negative to write about us and Bain gives them it. Anyone could see this; anyone but Bain and the clowns running our club. My message to Bain is to shut the f*ck up. If we sing something that might ‘offend’ someone then just bring up the recent filth visit to Tynecastle and why nothing has happened about this. I know of no Rangers song that would come close to the songs that were sung that night. – Fermanaghblue
As our clubs name is dragged through the gutter by our rivals this countries press and now seemingly the head of our Football Association, this is all Bain can come out and say? he thinks its ok that as gangs roamed the streets of Belgrade and Rome last night looking to attack rival fans that UEFA are standing watching us,and seemingly only us, just in case we sing a song! This is now just a farce. – Daddy_Bear07
If any songs which should not be sung, (the BB) are sung, then the club can reasonably point to the fact that they are doing everything they can to comply with UEFA’s restrictions that we have placed on us. – Gordybear