Rangers have announced that a late decision by the French authorities means that away supporters will not be allowed in the stadium for Thursday’s Europa League match in Lyon.
The Ibrox club had been in negotations with the club and local authorities in France to ensure that they would have support in the ground and announced last week that they had successfully obtained 2,200 tickets for their support.
The club has now been told that those fans will not be allowed to see the game as a local event will take up policing resource and make it impossible to accommodate a visiting support.
Rangers say that they have pursued the matter with everyone involved, including UEFA, but have been unable to get the French authorities to shift their position. A sopkesperson said the decision was ” bemusing and extremely frustrating”.
A 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.
“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.
“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 progress to the knockout stage of the competition and will be runners-up to group winners Lyon even if they manage a victory in France.