Rangers fined after crowd troubled

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The Independent Online

Rangers have been fined 20,000 euros (£17,988) and been ordered to pay the cost of damage to the Steaua Stadium as a result of the improper conduct of their fans during the Champions League match against Unirea Urziceni in Romania last week.

Television pictures from last Wednesday night's 1-1 Group G draw in Bucharest showed a number of visiting supporters clashing with Romanian police in the stands, while one fan was seen to rip out a seat.

Unirea Urziceni have been fined 8,000 euros (£7,195) for lack of organisation at the same match.

Rangers chief executive Martin Bain had claimed the trouble was triggered by poor organisation at the Steaua Stadium and over-zealous policing.

Bain's explanation for the crowd trouble was also backed by Superintendent Mike Dean of Strathclyde Police, who was helping to co-ordinate security at the ground.

The Light Blues were fined £13,300 for supporters' discriminatory chanting and £9,000 for attacking their opponents' team bus during an away game against Villarreal in 2006.

The following year, they were fined £8,280 on an improper conduct charge for fans' behaviour at an away UEFA Cup game against Osasuna.

However, it appears that UEFA have taken a lenient view of proceedings, amid fears ground closure could be one of the sanctions imposed on the Ibrox club by the governing body.

Rangers chief executive Martin Bain revealed his displeasure at the fine and reiterated his anger at the "moronic conduct" of the small minority of fans who were involved in the disturbances, but said the club will not appeal the punishment.

"It is extremely disappointing for both Rangers and the overwhelming majority of our supporters to see the club receive a fine of £18,000 from UEFA and suffer the consequences of the actions of those who took part in the disorder in Bucharest," he said.

"The moronic conduct of these individuals was wholly unacceptable and flies in the face of what we stand for as a football club. We will not appeal today's decision.

"It is particularly frustrating in view of the fact that many people at this club work very hard to ensure supporters travelling to support the team abroad are safe and can enjoy the occasion.

"Our official supporters groups have also tried to encourage sporting behaviour by all fans however their efforts are undermined by people who call themselves Rangers fans but have only their own mindless interests at heart.

"We do not want these people at our matches.

"We appreciate the fact that the UEFA match delegate said in his report that, apart from this incident, the behaviour of the majority of Rangers supporters in Bucharest was satisfactory.

"The club made strong representations to UEFA regarding the wholly unsatisfactory crowd management prior to the match and UEFA has addressed this.

"As we have made clear, this in no way excuses the violent behaviour of some fans."

Bain returned to his previous complaints about the poor facilities within the stadium and the heavy-handed treatment Rangers fans endured.

He said: "At Ibrox, we put a great deal of effort into ensuring a safe environment for spectators and have been complimented by various football authorities and visiting clubs for the arrangements we put in place.

"It is not unreasonable to expect that adequate safety arrangements are in place when clubs such as ours travel abroad.

"Regrettably, this was not the case in Romania.

"Many of our fans who travel regularly with the club and were not involved in the disorder last week described conditions and their treatment at the stadium as the worst they have experienced in Europe and this led to a very hostile and tense environment outside and inside the ground.

"The club will consider the implications of today's judgment from UEFA and will discuss issues arising from it with our supporters' representatives."

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