A statement published by Rangers on Saturday night claimed Benfica had pulled the plug on the fixture, adding that the Ibrox club would ‘take legal advice’ before making further comment.
“Rangers were due to fly out to Canada for the match on Tuesday 3 October but were informed of Benfica’s decision only hours ago,” the statement read.
“The organisers, Elite Soccer Entertainment, have apologised but Rangers will be expressing their displeasure on behalf of themselves and their supporters in the strongest possible terms.
“Rangers also wish to apologise to those fans who had made arrangements to travel, and those in Canada who were looking forward to the match.”
But Benfica said the match had been cancelled due to a ‘breach of the contractual commitments established by Elite Soccer Entertainment... within the terms and deadlines set.’
Naturally there is an increased interest in Rangers in Portugal thanks to manager Pedro Caixinha, and the presence of Bruno Alves, Daniel Candeias, Fabio Cardoso and Dalcio in the Ibrox playing squad.
And Lisbon-based sports newspaper Record is reporting that there was a ‘bureaucratic problem’ with Ticketline, who were handling ticket sales, and that neither club had received their match fee on time, rather than Benfica pulling out at the last minute.
A source close to organisers Elite Soccer Entertainment told Record that a story claiming Rangers were seeking compensation to the tune of around £200,000 resulting from the cancelled fixture was ‘fake’, and that the firm was keen to maintain a working relationship with both clubs in the future.
It is understood around 2,000 people had already bought tickets for the match at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.