Rangers have been charged for a second time by UEFA over sectarian chanting by their fans. After being charged over singing in the first leg of their Europa League clash against PSV Eindhoven in Holland, UEFA have now charged the Ibrox club with singing in the second leg of their Europa League clash.
But once again Rangers Chief Executive Martin Bain has stated that the actions by UEFA is part of ‘a deliberate and targeted campaign’ against the Ibrox side.
If Rangers lose both cases then they could see their fans being banned for two home games and two away games in Europe, and face hefty fines for both charges.
Rangers Chief Executive Martin Bain said on tonight’s news, “We have been informed tonight that we are now to be punished for alleged sectarian singing at Ibrox during the Europa League home game against PSV Eindhoven in addition to sanctions for alleged singing at the away match.
“We are absolutely astounded by this latest development and will defend our club’s position very very vigorously. 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?
“We could not have done more to eradicate sectarian behaviour. We will be seeking urgent meetings with UEFA at the highest level to address these issues. It would appear that yet again UEFA have acted on a report from the FARE organisation when their own match delegate, this time from Northern Ireland, gave us a very favourable report.”
According to Rangers, they were reported to UEFA by the Football Against Racism in Europe organisation, rather than the UEFA Match Delegate, who was from Northern Ireland. And the club stated that, this was also the case with the initial charge seven days earlier on March 10th.
Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan, was dismayed by the latest news.
“It is very sad for Scottish football that a decision like this has been made,” he said. “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. I know Martin Bain and the team at Rangers will be putting forward their case that they are doing all they can to try and stamp out their behaviour, but clearly the fans have let them down on the night.”
UEFA released a statement on Friday confirmed the charges, “UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Rangers FC with respect to last month’s UEFA Europa League round of 16 first and second-leg matches between the Scottish club and PSV Eindhoven. Rangers are to face charges of discriminatory behaviour relating to chanting by their supporters at the above-mentioned matches on 10 and 17 March. Both cases will be heard by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on Thursday 28 April.”
Rangers will have 14 days to defend the new charge. So is Martin Bain correct – is there a deliberate and targeted campaign against the Ibrox club? Are UEFA singling out Rangers? Have Rangers brought it upon themselves with their fans continually singing the songs that UEFA deem as sectarian? We want your views.