Rangers release furious statement after fans banned from Lyon tie for unusual reason

2021-22 Europa League group stage draw in full

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Rangers have branded the decision to ban their fans from Thursday night’s Europa League group game with Lyon as “bemusing” and “extremely frustrating”. The club have been told supporters cannot attend the match as it clashes with a festival taking place in the French city.

Over 2000 Gers fans were set to travel to Lyon to watch Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side play out their final group game, with both teams having already qualified for the next round.

However, with policing stretched due to a festival of light taking place in the city, the club has now been told no fans or corporate guests will be allowed to attend, just three days before the match is scheduled to take place.

The Scottish Premiership champions issued a furious statement on Monday afternoon explaining that while the club were previously made aware of potential policing issues, they were told over 2000 supporters would still be admitted to the match, as recently as last week.

The Rangers club statement read: “We regret to inform our travelling support that, within the last hour, we have been notified by the French Minister of the Interior, that away fans including corporate guests will not be admitted on Thursday night to the Groupama Stadium in Lyon, France.

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“We understand that there is a “festival of light” planned in the city which will test the policing resource and city infrastructure.

“As you are aware, we previously underlined to our support that the local authorities in France were being intransigent and initially unwilling to engage.

“However, only late last week they agreed that we could have 2200 supporters admitted.

“The decision to reverse this is bemusing, and extremely frustrating, given the short notice.”

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The Scottish champions went on to condemn the decision while sympathising with their supporters, who will have already forked out to make travel and accommodation arrangements for the Group A clash.

“It beggars belief that 3 days after that decision was taken and 3 days before the match is due to be played, it is our supporters who are now going to be left out of pocket by this decision by the French interior minister,” the statement continued.

“We empathise with the feeling of supporters, who have made travel plans months in advance.

“Furthermore, we were allocated tickets several weeks ago, which adds further confusion to the most recent decision to not admit our fans.

“Rest assured, we have made representations to UEFA, OL and the French authorities. However, regrettably, this situation is now out with our control.

“Nevertheless, we are duty bound to ask all supporters including corporate guests to not travel to France.

“We appreciate the frustration of our support, and will work to ensure a refund for tickets is processed forthwith.”

Rangers have already secured second place in the group while Thursday night’s opponents Lyon have guaranteed top spot having won each of their five group games so far, including a 2-0 win over the Gers at Ibrox back on Matchday 1.

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