Could Rangers escape UEFA sanctions over Europa League tie with Spartak Moscow?

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Rangers could avoid a hefty fine from UEFA after being late for kick-off in their Europa League Group G match against Spartak Moscow in Russia last week.

European football’s governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against both clubs yesterday, with the home side facing four times as many charges after their fans blocked stairwells, let off fireworks and threw missiles.

Nikola Katic looks on as smoke billows around the Otkritie Arena after fireworks were let off by Spartak Moscow fans. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Nikola Katic looks on as smoke billows around the Otkritie Arena after fireworks were let off by Spartak Moscow fans. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will deal with the case on December 13, with the Ibrox club due to be informed of the decision.

But the Gers could escape serious punishment, and will in all likelihood be given a warning, for their part in the delayed start.

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UEFA charges both teams if a match is delayed, but is understood to let it slide if it is a club’s first late start.

Last month, Manchester United and Valencia were both charged by UEFA after their Champions League group clash at Old Trafford kicked off late, but the Spaniards were issued a warning, rather than the €10,000 fine dished out to United.

On that basis, it seems almost certain that Rangers will avoid a five-figure penalty and will instead get off with a warning.