Rangers vow to fight UEFA charge

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Football News

Rangers have vowed to fight any UEFA disciplinary action over sectarian singing after claiming "disproportionate focus" had been directed towards their fans.

Rangers reacted with "utter dismay" after UEFA confirmed their control and disciplinary committee would discuss an alleged case of discriminatory chanting among Rangers supporters at the away leg of their Europa League clash against PSV Eindhoven last month. Rangers have previously been fined for the same offence.

But Rangers chief executive Martin Bain argued the club had done everything possible to tackle sectarianism and were being unfairly singled out. In a statement on the club's official website, Bain said: "We are utterly dismayed to be informed by UEFA that it is to take disciplinary action against the club."

He added: "We will defend the club's position vigorously at the hearing which is scheduled for later this month. UEFA has already made clear in previous disciplinary hearings that sanctions against Rangers have been mitigated by the extensive work the club does to tackle sectarianism."

UEFA confirmed that could mean tougher sanctions should their fans be found guilty of "sectarian chanting".

UEFA's head of communications, Rob Faulkner, told BBC Radio Scotland: "Within the range of potential sanctions, the disciplinary regulations allow for anything from a warning to a fine to banning certain areas of the ground or banning away supporters, so there are a number of options available to the disciplinary committee. But I wouldn't want to prejudge that."

He added: "There is a clause regarding recidivism, which is the repeat of a similar offence within five years of an infringement. That is clearly stated within our regulations."

Bain, who attended a summit with First Minister Alex Salmond and police last month to discuss problems surrounding fixtures with Celtic, added: "A high-ranking UEFA delegation also described our club as exemplars of best practice in this area and only a few weeks ago the First Minister complimented us on the efforts we make as a club.

"Our position regarding sectarian and offensive singing has been made clear time and again - we condemn it and those who indulge in it only damage the interests of the club. We have worked closely with our supporters groups to try to deal with this issue and believe that few other clubs make as big an effort to tackle anti-social behaviour.

"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."

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