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Rangers charged over fan violence

Fans and stewards clash at half-time
Rangers fans and stewards clashed at half-time

Rangers have been charged with the improper conduct of their supporters following the disturbances during their Champions League tie in Romania.

The Glasgow club's supporters were involved in half-time scuffles at the match against Unirea Urziceni at Ghencea Stadium in Bucharest.

Fans were seen on TV destroying seats and challenging match stewards during the 1-1 draw on Wednesday.

Uefa's control and disciplinary body will deal with the case next Thursday.

European football's governing body had waited on its delegate's report into the Champions League Group G game before deciding whether to launch an investigation into the trouble.

Responding to the charge, chief executive Martin Bain said: "We have been informed by Uefa that disciplinary proceedings have been instigated in relation to the throwing of missiles and crowd disturbances.

"As already stated, I am not for a moment condoning the action of some supporters to the unfolding of events within the stadium.

Obviously the behaviour of some of the fans inside the stadium was unacceptable

Rangers chief executive Martin Bain

"But, as a club, the preparations which were agreed and insisted upon in advance were not adhered to and this, in turn, we feel jeopardised the safety of our supporters.

"We are fully aware of the indiscriminate use of CS gas and the difficulties experienced by our fans accessing the stadium.

"All these factors will be presented fully by the club to Uefa in our submission."

The trouble in the stands has overshadowed the game itself, Unirea Urziceni's Marius Onofras scoring in the 88th-minute to force a 1-1 draw in the match after Lee McCulloch's shot had put the visitors ahead 11 minutes from time.

In a statement the previous evening, Bain, describing the behaviour of some fans as "unacceptable", had been critical of the shortage of entry access for spectators at the stadium, which is the home of Steaua Bucharest.

"Rangers came to this stadium with representatives from Uefa and Unirea a number of weeks ago and arranged for the four turnstiles to be open to give access to our supporters," said the chief executive.

"When they arrived this evening, there were only two turnstiles open, which caused difficulty gaining access, and for fans then to be sprayed with CS gas is totally unacceptable."


A half-time announcement threatened an abandonment of the match and Uefa head of communications Rob Faulkner insisted this was made at the request of the match delegate in a bid to quieten down the atmosphere.

"We take any incident like this seriously, but we have to get all the facts," he said of something described by Rangers Supporters Assembly chief Andy Kerr as a "minor incident".

"As far as we can establish at the moment, it seems there were a number of Rangers supporters who came late into the stadium and we need to find out why.

"Then there was an issue about where they were going to sit as apparently there were banners already placed there, which resulted in the request to remove some banners, which seems to have ended in a clash between stewards and some supporters.

"If we need to discuss with people who were there on site, we will do that and obviously we'll take action after that."

The game had been moved to Steaua's stadium as Unirea's own ground, 25km away and with a 7,000 capacity, had been deemed unfit to host a Champions League tie.

However, problems arose before the match as Rangers fans tried to enter the ground.

It is as yet unclear exactly what triggered the clash between a section of the visiting support and stewards at half-time.

Seats and punches were thrown by fans and television pictures showed stewards spraying tear gas at close range.

At one point, the fans surged forward to recover a supporter who had been grabbed by the Romanian stewards.

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see also
Sevilla not ready to take it easy
05 Nov 09 |  Rangers
Wilson not expecting more starts
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Smith stunned by late equaliser
05 Nov 09 |  Rangers
Unirea Urziceni 1-1 Rangers
04 Nov 09 |  Europe
Champions League photo gallery
04 Nov 09 |  Europe

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