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Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Monday, 5 May 2008 17:40 UK

Zenit fans snap up Uefa tickets

Rangers fans are expected to travel to Manchester in their thousands
Thousands of Rangers fans are expected to travel to Manchester

Rangers fans hopeful of obtaining tickets for the Uefa Cup final have been told their Russian opponents will be taking up their full allocation.

The Glasgow club will face Zenit St Petersburg on 14 May in Manchester and fans have been clamouring for tickets since Walter Smith's side eliminated Fiorentina in Italy last Thursday.

It was presumed Zenit would return some of their 13,000 tickets.

However, the Russian club has said they will be taking up the full allocation.

The City of Manchester Stadium has a 47,726 capacity, and Rangers are expected to be allocated the same number of tickets as the St Petersburg side.

However, around 22,000 briefs are being distributed among neutral fans and corporate sponsors.

Tickets for the final are already appearing on the auction website eBay, with bid values ranging from 600 to 5,000.

However, many Rangers fans will be disappointed to learn that no additional tickets will be available to Glaswegians making the trip down the M6 and a large contingent of Russians will be present inside the City of Manchester Stadium on Wednesday 14 May.

"We will sell all our tickets, there is no doubt about that," said a Zenit spokesman.

"We had 3,000 in Munich for the first leg of our semi-final against Bayern and many more want to go to Manchester.

We had 3,000 in Munich for the first leg of our semi-final against Bayern and many more want to go to Manchester.

Zenit spokesman

"We have had our first allocation of 7,000 tickets from Uefa and they are gone.

"We are waiting for the second part of 4,000 and I have no doubt that they will be sold too, as will the rest we get.

There has been no tradition of Russian football fans travelling outside their country to follow their clubs in European competition, until recently.

A relaxation in rules surrounding travel in and out of Russia means many Zenit fans will be able to obtain the travel permits required to make the trip to Manchester.

"Our fans will have no problems travelling to Britain.

"They do need a special passport that allows them to leave the country but many of our 16,000 season-ticket holders and our other fans, already have it.

"They also need a visa to travel to Britain but the British Consulate will open offices in St Petersburg and Moscow to allow those to be rushed through.

"Some of our fans will be flying from St Petersburg to Riga, then to Manchester.

"Others will be flying from St Petersburg to London then getting a train to Manchester.

"But we will have a very enthusiastic support in Manchester."

Rangers have also confirmed that Uefa have given the club verbal permission to broadcast pictures of the Uefa Cup final on giant screens inside Ibrox stadium at a special event for fans who will not be able to travel to Manchester.

see also
Smith revels in Rangers progress
02 May 08 |  Rangers
Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (0-0)
01 May 08 |  Europe

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