(Adds quotes and background, updates arrests)
By Darren Ennis
BRUSSELS May 15 Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg
are unlikely to face any punishment over the events that led to
the stabbing of a Russian fan at Wednesday's UEFA Cup final in
Manchester, a top UEFA official said.
But the Russian club may face sanctions over their fans
running on to the pitch during and after their 2-0 victory over
the Scottish side at the City of Manchester Stadium, UEFA's
director of communications William Gaillard said on Thursday.
"We'll have to await the delegates report... but regarding
the stabbing, firstly we wish the victim a speedy recovery. Yes,
it did take place within the parameters of the stadium and these
Rangers fans managed to get into the Zenit zone.
"But this was a small group of individuals for which the
clubs and the majority of fans which behaved very well cannot be
punished nor held accountable for," he told Reuters.
"But clubs are responsible for the behaviour of their fans
inside the stadium, so yes, we could take action over the pitch
encroachments if we find any blame with the club."
Five Rangers supporters were arrested and later released
without charge by police after a Russian fan was stabbed in the
back, while 42 fans were arrested and 15 police officers injured
after trouble flared in the city centre.
Police said the majority of the more than 100,000 Rangers
fans who descended on the city without tickets were well behaved
but said they were sickened by the troublemakers.
"There was a group of 200 plus who chased six officers up a
road. They managed to trip one of them and they jumped on them
like a pack of baying wolves," Greater Manchester Police
assistant chief constable Justine Curran told a news conference.
"It was quite sickening to see."
Rangers chief executive Martin Bain told Sky Sports News:
"Those scenes were dreadful but we have been informed they
were caused by supporters who don't normally attach themselves
to our support.
"We're obviously extremely disappointed and will do
everything we can to help Manchester police find out who those
Rangers head of security Kenny Scott added: "... many of
these people will have no association with Rangers and that
exacerbates our difficulty in dealing with what happened.
"If there were 120,000 fans in the city centre then 200 or
so let down this club."
Despite Wednesday's violence in Manchester, UEFA does not
expect a repeat at next week's Champions League final between
Manchester United and Chelsea in Moscow and certainly does
foresee any retaliatory attacks on British fans.
"Retaliation? No I don't think so. United and Chelsea fans
had nothing to do with this and it is the media's responsibility
not to make something out of nothing on this," Gaillard said.
"We expect a great final in a great atmosphere. We expect a
warm welcome from the Russian people in a safe and secure
Gaillard said European soccer's governing body would not be
making any extra security arrangements in light of Wednesday's
violence, but said the issue of violence, notably caused by
ticketing problems, may require a "revolutionary rethink".
He said he could envisage fans requiring biometric entry
into stadiums in the future such as a finger print or eye scan.
"I don't see this (biometric) happening at this stage
because it would take a cultural revolution. But, yes, if the
current trend continues we will have to move in that direction."
(Additional reporting by Mitch Phillips and Jeremy Lovell in
London; Editing by Ken Ferris and John O'Brien)