Rangers fans await help as Napoli support get refunds after government intervention
Napoli fans have had their match tickets and flights refunded for the match against Rangers that they were barred from attending, after the Italian government intervened, the Daily Record reports.
Following the death of the Queen the Champions League meeting at Ibrox which was scheduled for Tuesday 13 September was pushed back 24-hours and away fans were no longer allowed to attend amid policing shortages.
Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio had therefore written to EasyJet and Ryanair to get the group of approximately 600 travelling fans who had already bought flights reimbursed, which has apparently been successful.
With Bears fans subsequently excluded from the return fixture at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on 26 October there are thought to be a number who will have already booked their travel and accommodation for the match but no longer be allowed to attend, but as yet there is no news on Scottish government involvement on their behalf.
The Daily Record report notes: “At least a couple of thousand Rangers supporters would have been expected to travel for the match at the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona and most would have already booked flights and hotels for their penultimate game in the group on October 26.
“And they will be interested to learn that their Italian counterparts have not only had their tickets refunded by Napoli, but their flight tickets to Glasgow will be refunded by EasyJet.”
The Gers subsequently lost the match 3-0 after James Sands’ red card proved the key turning point.
There may be a number of Rangers fans willing to take the financial hit in light of the reason for the change of arrangements.
But there will be plenty who simply can’t afford to, and none should be obliged to swallow what will be a pretty significant outlay during a cost of living crisis due to circumstances entirely out of their control.
Given that the Italian government has had the desired effect in assisting Napoli fans already, it would seem obvious for the same to be done from the Scottish end to support Light Blues fans.
The airlines have done the decent thing for supporters travelling to Glasgow so there is little reason for them to refuse to do the same for those going the other way.
Accommodation is likely a different matter depending on the size of the venues, but any assistance that can be provided in line with what has come from the other side would make sense sooner rather than later.
There is sure to be plenty of displeasure from politicians in Scotland and Italy if a load of Rangers supporters decide to travel to Naples anyway just because they’ve already got flights bought.
While it is impossible to prevent that happening entirely, it would be better to take whatever action is possible at this stage to help avoid it.