Rangers issue angry UEFA statement as early Benfica kick- off time revealed | Football | Sport

Rangers have expressed their disappointment with UEFA over the kick-off time of 5.45pm for their Europa League second leg match against Benfica, stating the early start causes “significant disruption” for all.

The Scottish club were drawn against the Portuguese giants in the last 16 draw on Friday, after an impressive group stage performance that included a historic away win against Real Betis.

The first leg will be played at Estadio Da Luz on March 7, followed by the return leg at Ibrox on March 14. However, the early evening start time has not been well received at Ibrox.

The club would have preferred the usual 8pm slot to avoid inconveniencing fans, but TV commitments mean the game will start at teatime. Despite requests to UEFA to push back the start time, the governing body has decided to stick with the earlier kick-off.

A furious statement from Rangers read: “Rangers, on behalf of our supporters, are disappointed to have learned our round of 16 Europa League home match with Benfica on Thursday, March 14 will kick-off at 17:45.”

“Despite a robust case being made to UEFA for the fixture to be played in the traditional 20:00 slot, it is instead to begin significantly earlier, primarily due to broadcaster commitments, and thus likely cause significant inconvenience and disruption to our supporters.”

“The club fully sympathises with our loyal supporters for the additional sacrifices they may need to make to attend the match, with this issue falling totally outside of our control.”

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