Rangers Face UEFA Sanctions Over Sectarian Chants

According to FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe), certain Glasgow Rangers fans indulged in a spot of sectarian singing during the Scottish club's Europa League clash against Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven back in March. I think if such chanting did indeed happen, it would surprise absolutely nobody, and so UEFA has decided to take action against the team by fining them €40,000 and banning away fans for one match. There's also a suspended fine of another €40,000 and the possibility of being forced to play behind closed doors at Ibrox should another such event occur within the next few years.

Obviously this is a major blow to the club and the spectre of that suspended sentence will have Rangers desperate to behave. It's unclear whether Rangers will choose to appeal as of yet, but the language issued in a statement on the team's website by chief executive Martin Bain seems to imply that they believe the punishment is unfair:

To be clear, we condemn sectarianism and there is no doubt the mindless behaviour of an element of our support has exposed the club to a very serious situation. The people who engage in this type of behaviour are damaging the club they claim to support.

It is abundantly clear from this decision that if there is any sectarian singing at future matches the suspended bans will take effect. Those fans who engage in such activity need to take that message on board.

It's a real shame that small segments of the fanbase would cause such problems for the rest of club, but it's clear that UEFA plans to stamp sectarianism out of the sport (and rightly so), and to do it they'll have to take fairly draconian measures against the harshest offenders. Punishing a club for the behaviour of its supporters at an away game may sound silly, but if that's the only way they can crack down on sectarian chanting and whatnot, so be it.

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