Rangers’ Europa League rivals Sparta Prague have issued an update confirming a bizarre twist ahead of their meeting with the Gers at the end of the month.
Steven Gerrard’s side will be looking to bounce back following their matchday one defeat to Lyon when they travel to the Czech capital.
Their hopes of a big away win were given a boost some time ago when it was announced that Sparta had been ordered by UEFA to play the match behind closed doors as a punishment for racist chanting in their Champions League qualifier against Monaco in August.
However, it’s now clear that the Letna Stadium will not be empty for the Group A clash.
That’s as Sparta have confirmed that they are taking advantage of an exception to the UEFA sanction and are granting free entry to children.
“Due to the punishment for the racist behavior of some of our fans during the home match with Monaco, no adult fans are allowed in the stadium,” reads Sparta statement [Scottish Sun]. “But there is an exception for organised children’s groups and we want to use it – we invite children to the Europa League for free.”
“The invitation is valid for organised groups of children from 6 to 14 years of age who arrive at the stadium accompanied by an adult.
“At the same time, however, the rule applies that one adult must have a minimum of ten children and a maximum of 19.”
Remarkably, Sparta suggested on Twitter on Tuesday that 6000 tickets had already been snapped up by children’s groups ahead of the game.
The news may be well received by the players and staff of both teams, as while it’s likely to be far from a typical atmosphere, the presence of fans of some kind will ensure it’s not as soulless as many matches were during the peak of the pandemic.