Graeme Souness rages at 'little jacked-up' UEFA as Rangers defy national anthem order
Graeme Souness has slammed UEFA and said that “some minion” at the governing body does not get to tell Rangers what they can and can’t do.
In the wake of the Queen’s death the club had asked permission to play the national anthem before kick-off of their Champions League game with Napoli on Wednesday night (14 September), but were denied.
However, the former Gers player-manager was delighted that following the tribute in the Broomloan Stand and the minute’s silence the crowd sang it anyway, and has directed his considerable fury at the attempt to prevent it.
Writing in his Mail+ column Souness said: “The coordination and detail which went into the creation of the Queen’s silhouette against a Union flag, covering the entire Broomloan Stand, was magnificent. There was also the playing of the national anthem, despite that utterly ridiculous order from UEFA that they should not.
“The home supporters at Ibrox were always going to sing the anthem and never going to comply with some faceless bureaucrat sitting in Nyons.
“Dream on, if you think that order was going to be adhered to. Some little jacked-up UEFA executive thinks they can tell us that we can’t sing our national anthem after our Queen of 70 years dies. It was never going to happen.
“Not play the anthem? Hold on a minute. This is merely football we’re talking about. Our monarch passes away and some minion at UEFA then tells us what we can and can’t do. I don’t know who on earth came up with that decision.”
The 3-0 defeat at Ibrox saw an improved display before James Sands’ red card proved too much to overcome in what became the third heavy defeat on the bounce.
But the night is more likely to be remembered among the Light Blues supporters for the tribute to the late monarch beforehand.
Considering the strength of feeling involved it was probably inevitable that the national anthem was going to be heard inside the ground one way or another, as demonstrated by hearing Ally McCoist’s voice live over all others in the BT Sport commentary box.
The relationship between the club and the European governing body has been far from cordial over the last year anyway, with multiple fines being handed down during the Europa League campaign last season.
In those circumstances it is clear that the club felt little about the prospect of another one being added to the pile on an occasion of such significance.
As it turned out, UEFA appear to have felt it not worth the conflict to do so this time as they opted not to punish the club for going against their orders, while initiating proceedings against traveling Celtic fans for an abusive banner.
UEFA aren’t exactly a popular organisation at the best of times and their involvement in a matter such as this one was always likely to lead to this kind of thunderous response, and it is no surprise that it has come from a staunch Rangers man like Souness.