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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Rangers fans cleared of bigotry
Rangers captain Barry Ferguson
Rangers were knocked out of Europe on the away goals rule
Rangers have been found not guilty of bigoted chanting by their supporters during matches against Villarreal following an investigation by Uefa.

But the Glasgow club have been fined just under 9,000 for smashing a window on the Spanish side's team bus ahead of the Champions League second leg.

A Uefa spokesman told BBC Sport: "They have been fined 20,000 Swiss francs for smashing the window.

"And they have been found not guilty on the case of the chants."

There had been fears that Rangers could be heavily fined for the chanting and be forced to close parts of their ground for future European matches.

William Gaillard, head of communications with European football's governing body, said: "We had individual reports of such chanting.
It's time for the 90-minute bigots to remain silent
Rangers chairman David Murray

"But, having looked at the evidence, Rangers fans were found not guilty of racist or discriminatory chanting.

"Uefa might have a more elaborate explanation when they reveal explanations on both counts on Thursday."

Both Rangers and city rivals Celtic have been running campaigns designed to tackle sectarianism.

But, while Rangers chairman David Murray welcomed Uefa's decision, he insisted that more hard work was required to stamp it out.

"We were confident throughout that the tremendous efforts made by the club to tackle sectarianism, racism and all other forms of inappropriate behaviour over a protracted period would be recognised and acknowledged by Uefa," he said.

"Few clubs in Europe can match the sustained effort we've made in this respect over the past five years and even less would have been able, within the tight deadlines imposed by Uefa, to produce such comprehensive material to support this.

"We are grateful too for the many testimonials and expressions of support received from a wide range of individuals and organisations.

"None of this, however, should mask the fact that sectarianism remains a very serious problem within Scottish society and it now has to stop.

"Nothing in our submission to Uefa denied this fact.

"A minority of our supporters are going to have to realise, and realise very quickly, that the controlling authorities in football, whether Fifa, Uefa, the SFA, the SPL or SFL, are going to be obliged almost immediately to impose the heaviest possible sanctions for discriminatory behaviour.

"It's time for the 90-minute bigots to remain silent, for others to speak out, exerting a peer pressure on those that disgrace their clubs and for the promotion of decent football songs and chants, of which there are many."

Former Rangers captain Craig Paterson expressed his relief.

"I'm delighted because I thought Rangers would cop it," he said.

"Nobody could condone the bottle throwing incident, Rangers knew they were going to get fined for that, so that's unfortunate.

"Rangers have been cleared of the other charge, but I think Uefa will warn as to future conduct."

Rangers Supporters Trust spokesman David Edgar said his organisation would continue to encourage fans to sing less contentious songs.


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