Scottish Premiership giants Rangers travel to Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday and require a win at the Ligue 1 side to guarantee their place in the knockout stages
They are currently second in Group A, with Peter Bosz’s Lyon side having already secured top spot and Sparta Prague just three points behind them ahead of their clash with Brondby, who are bottom.
But just days before their crucial clash in France, Rangers have been told that no away fans will be allowed to travel to the Groupama Stadium due to another event taking place in the city that night.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Will Rangers beat Lyon in the Europa League this Thursday? Comment below.
It is a decision that has infuriated Rangers, who have now slammed the French authorities and accused them of being “unwilling to engage”.
“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,” the Scottish champions said in a statement.
“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.
“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.”
Rangers also revealed that they have protested the decision to UEFA, Lyon and the French authorities.
But they have admitted that the decision is now “out of their control” and have told supporters to not travel to the game.
“We empathise with the feeling of supporters, who have made travel plans months in advance,” the statement added.
“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.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
“We appreciate the frustration of our support, and will work to ensure a refund for tickets is processed forthwith.”
The Lyon clash will be the sixth game of Van Bronckhorst’s tenure, with Rangers having won all but one game under the Dutchman.
They were defeated at Ibrox by the Ligue 1 side in the opening game of the Europa League group stages, when under the management of Steven Gerrard.