Rangers fans could feel a knock-on effect from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine as Serbia offer to host a Spartak Moscow Europa League game whilst the Ibrox side are in Belgrade.
The Gers have drawn current Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade in the Last 16 of the Europa League following a famous 6-4 aggregate victory over German giants Borussia Dortmund.
The first leg is set to take place at Ibrox Stadium on 10th March with the return to take place at the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade exactly a week later.
Russian outfit Spartak Moscow are also in the Europa League and have drawn German side RB Leipzig in the competition’s Last 16, with the first leg in Germany and the second originally set to be played in Russia.
UEFA have introduced sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of the aggression in Ukraine – including stripping St Petersburg of this season’s Champions League Final – with Russian and Ukrainian sides being instructed to play their home legs at a neutral venue [Daily Mail].
Rangers and Spartak fans could be in Belgrade at same time
As a solution, Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic has invited Spartak Moscow to play their game in the country, the European nation the only not to impose any sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
If this was to be the case, Rangers fans would potentially be in Serbia at the same time as Spartak Moscow supporters with both legs to take place on the same night on March 17th.
“In Serbia, we have always been good hosts. If we can help solve some problems by hosting the Spartak Moscow game, then we have no problem with that,” said Vucic [Glasgow Times].
“We offer them the best conditions and we would guarantee the safety of both formal hosts and guests. You have my word on that.”
So far no decision has been made on the venue but “Serbian reports” have suggested that if a ground in Belgrade is chosen, Partizan could be forced to open their stadium to the Russians.
Speaking of Rangers’ clash with Red Star Belgrade, one reported summer Ibrox target is likely to travel with the Serbians to Glasgow.