Rangers vs Spartak Moscow was already going to be a blockbuster occasion, but UEFA have just given Rangers a further boost.
European football’s governing body feels that the game is “high-risk” in terms of supporters’ safety. Therefore, Rangers will now sell just 1,001 tickets to Moscow for their trip to Glasgow next Thursday.
Rangers fans are expected to sell out Ibrox to capacity once more. Moscow, meanwhile, have been left raging that they aren’t entitled to the usual 5% of the stadium capacity. They apparently don’t seem to realise that UEFA have granted the Ibrox side special permission to sell less tickets.
A brawl occurred between supporters before Rangers hosted NK Osjek in the qualifying stages. UEFA haven’t stated the specifics on what makes this game high-risk.
A UEFA statement explained the following:
We took note of the exceptional decision of the local authorities in Glasgow to reduce the number of tickets for Spartak fans. All parties involved understand that security issues are of the highest priority for UEFA.”
Nobody can deny that a strong away support makes for a better occasion. Yet when it comes to safety, there’s only one winner. Rangers have to make sure that every supporter attending the contest is safe whilst at it.
Spartak fans previously clashed with riot police against Athletic Bilbao last February. It appears that UEFA believe that having too many away fans is against the interest of safety.
What it does mean, however, is that Spartak will now have even less backing when they pitch up in Glasgow next Thursday. That alone is a good boost for Rangers as they’re set to fill Ibrox to the rafters once more.
A victory would be a huge boost to Rangers’ qualification chances, as they look to increase their gap at the top of the group. Villarreal are also in action at home to Rapid Vienna on the same evening.