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RANGERS fans are set to be hammered with a three-match Euro ban for singing sectarian songs.

 

Last night Ibrox chiefs were also bracing themselves for a "heavy" fine which could be as much as s100,000.

 

And there are now also fears that UEFA's determination to clamp down on Rangers' bigots could further delay, if not derail entirely, Craig Whyte's s25 million buy-out.

 

UEFA have told Rangers to expect the penalties because of sectarian songs and chants which the governing body claim were belted out during the Europa League match against PSV in Eindhoven on March 10.

 

The Ibrox club have until next Thursday to submit their defence - the hearing will be held in Nyon two weeks later - if they are to have any chance of avoiding a FOURTH European sanction.

 

But a UEFA source, who confirmed Gers had been pulled up again, also said it was unlikely the club could escape punishment.

 

Rangers only discovered they were in trouble yesterday and when contacted by Record Sport, beleaguered chief executive Martin Bain spoke of his "utter dismay".

 

But he stressed the Ibrox club would be defending their position "vigorously".

 

Rangers will try once again to convince UEFA they have done all they can to rid themselves of the bigots but it is almost certain all their fans will be banned from the next three away matches in Europe.

 

The club were fined s13,000 for discriminatory chanting and s9,000 for an attack on Villarreal's team bus in 2006.

 

UEFA also demanded they pay s8,280 after a UEFA Cup tie against Osasuna in March 2007 with the Spanish club receiving a s31,000 fine because of poor organisation.

 

Then, in November 2009, the club were fined s18,000 after a Champions League match against Unirea Urziceni in Romania. Again the home side were also fined (s7,200) for poor organisation.

 

A UEFA spokesman said last night: "For this kind of behaviour and the number of offences which is repeated the fine could be heavy - as much as 150,000 Swiss francs."

 

Bain said: "We are utterly dismayed to be informed by UEFA that they are to take disciplinary action. We will defend the club's position vigorously.

 

"UEFA have made clear in any previous disciplinary hearings that sanctions have been mitigated by the extensive work the club does to tackle sectarianism.

 

"We are not saying there is not a problem but we are saying that for many years we have made strenuous attempts to address it. We do, however, believe it is absurd to think only Rangers supporters sing offensive or sectarian songs. We are left to conclude there is a disproportionate focus on us.

 

"It has also become clear there are people who have been determined to undermine our club at any cost and have constantly lobbied for action against Rangers."

 

Rangers can point to their Euro record this season which will show five trips with no arrests for sectarian or discriminatory behaviour. They will also point out that they've been given a clean bill of health all season from delegates and security officers who have been specifically briefed by UEFA to look out for sectarian singing.

 

It is also believed they have letters from Greater Manchester Police and the British Vice Consul in Valencia praising behaviour.

 

The club will also question UEFA over whether or not they act on reports submitted by people other than official delegates and police but stress they won't be attempting to say they aren't tracked around Europe by morons.

 

 

This deranged and also dangerous element have refused to believe UEFA were prepared to take more serious action but they are now about to experience that reality.

 

The man trying to buy Rangers from David Murray will also have been given a reality check. Last week Whyte discovered there was an outstanding tax bill of almost s3m and now he finds the club he wants to own is in big bother with UEFA.

 

Should Whyte say, "no thanks" the consequences for Rangers could be much more serious than anything UEFA might throw at them.

 

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Guest leith_red

:-\

 

Usual bollocks from Bain.

 

I think they did behave well in Manchester (this time).  Mainly because they were bused in from Wigan to Old Trafford, and bused staright back out again, without being allowed anywhere near the city centre.

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Uefa has fined Rangers 40,000 euros and banned its fans from the club's next away European game for sectarian singing in a match at PSV Eindhoven.

 

At a hearing in Nyon, Switzerland, Uefa also gave Rangers a suspended ban on its fans for a second away game for a probationary period of three years.

 

Uefa also issued a suspended punishment for fans' behaviour at the Ibrox leg.

 

It will fine Rangers a further 40,000 euros and close Ibrox for one match if fans misbehave in the next three years.

 

Should the Scottish Premier League leaders choose to appeal the decision, the club must do so within three days of receiving Uefa's written decision.

 

In a statement on the Rangers website, chief executive Martin Bain said: "We are bitterly disappointed that our club has been placed in a position where we are subjected to these kind of sanctions by Uefa.

 

"We will consider our position when we receive the written reasons for the decision which are expected in a week or so.

 

"The club put its own case very forcibly to Uefa and the more draconian sanctions that were recommended by the disciplinary inspector have been mitigated to a degree.

 

"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."

 

And Bain added: "In terms of the Uefa case brought against us, we have had serious concerns about the integrity of the evidence compiled by the FARE organisation and that remains the case.

 

"We are also of the opinion that FARE has been influenced by people who make it their business to damage our club in any way they can.

 

"We are committed to the eradication of sectarianism and believe it would have been more constructive for FARE to work with our club rather than against it.

 

"Instead, they submitted evidence to Uefa with a clear objective in mind and have shown a complete lack of transparency or accountability when asked for clarification on various aspects of that evidence."

 

Earlier on Thursday, Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist accepted that if a ban on fans attending matches at Ibrox helped to eradicate sectarianism, it would be worth the club taking the financial hit.

 

He said ahead of Uefa's decision: "No matter what it costs, if the problem can get eradicated, then anything is a good thing."

 

McCoist, though, believes the guilty fans should be punished instead of the club.

 

"It would be a real blow," added McCoist. "The atmosphere at our place in the Champions League in recent seasons has been out of this world.

 

"I'd feel really sorry for the good fans and the players as well."

 

I was hoping they would get a game at behind closed doors. Really boot them in the coffers.

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