FC Ufa have revealed they will discover today if they have to forfeit their Europa League tie with Rangers because they can’t get a visa to visit the UK.
The Ibrox side face a tricky encounter against the Russian side, with a place in the Group Stages the prize.
The first leg is at Ibrox on Thursday and that’s presented a major problem for the Bashkortostan region side, who are in their first ever European campaign.
Because of the short turnaround from their last game in Luxembourg against Progres Niederkorn on Thursday, they don’t have enough time for the entire team to be issued UK visas by the normal process.
They are desperately hoping for their application to be fast tracked, but have admitted that may not be possible.
Just last week, Russian cyclist Igor Frolov was unable to compete at the European Championships in Glasgow because he didn’t give himself enough time to get a UK visa.
And Spartak Moscow were unable to send a youth team to the Milk Cup tournament in Northern Ireland this summer because of new visa restrictions.
FC Ufa played against Dinamo Moscow yesterday in the Russian capital and today will plead with the UK Embassy in the city to speed up their application which usually takes a minimum of five days.
But FC Ufa’s president Shamil Gazizov has revealed he’s far from certain they will be able to travel to Glasgow.
He said: “We are actively engaged in trying to obtain British visas. But everyone must understand this is a very difficult and challenging situation.
“After the game against Dinamo, we will go with our prepared documents to the British Embassy.
“We hope they are able to accelerate the process, but we will know for certain what is happening on Monday.
“We have been told even the accelerated process takes a minimum of five days so that would obviously not be enough time for us.”
The recent tensions between the UK and Russia have led to a tightening of visa applications between the countries and the process has been significantly lengthened.
Spartak were stunned when their visa application for their visit to Northern Ireland couldn’t be completed just last month and their executive director Ekaterina Anisimova said: “We are really disappointed that political questions can interfere with sporting and cultural events.
“They have disturbed our player’s development and progress, as well as our goodwill.”
A Home Office spokesman responded by stating: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits. We do not routinely comment on specific cases.”
If FC Ufa weren’t granted their visas on time, they would be left with no option but to forfeit the tie and allow Rangers a walkover into the Group Stages.