Russian footballer is DENIED a visa to play in the Champions League against Rangers in Glasgow tonight, after he made pro-Russia statements during the war in Ukraine
- Swiss side Servette have voiced frustration after the player was refused a visa
- Gael Ondoua, the player in question, was refused entry by UK authorities
- Servette will take on Rangers in a Champions League qualifier tonight
Servette have hit out after midfielder Gael Ondoua — a Russian citizen — was unable to obtain an entry visa from UK authorities ahead of tonight’s Champions League qualifier with Rangers at Ibrox.
The Cameroon international grew up in Russia and made headlines during last year’s World Cup by wearing the country’s flag on his boots.
With the Swiss side already missing seven players due to injury and suspension, coach Rene Weiler’s problems for the first leg have only increased.
At last night’s media conference, Servette officials would not go into details but released a statement saying the club ‘deplores this situation and supports its player and his team, which will have to deal without a major player in its workforce for non-sporting reasons’.
It also confirmed the club had spent two weeks trying to find a solution and had enlisted the SFA’s help.
Russian citizen Gael Ondoua (above) was unable to obtain an entry visa from UK authorities
Ondoua’s team, Servette, have a Champions League qualifier with Rangers at Ibrox tonight
Ondoua made headlines after wearing boots with the Russian flag on during the World Cup (Credit: Twitter @kvarvaryk)
Ondoua becomes the eighth Servette player ruled out of tonight’s game. Striker Enzo Crivelli is banned after being sent off in last week’s win over Genk, a match in which first-choice goalkeeper Jeremy Frick was also injured.
Right-back Keigo Tsunemoto is out for a month, while his back-up, Theo Magnin, is also sidelined. Miroslav Stevanovic, Alexis Antunes and Alexander Lyng are all missing through injury.
Weiler said: ‘These players are important for us but I don’t want to spend much time talking about those who can’t play. I’m always confident in my team’s ability.’
He expects his team to embrace the atmosphere inside Ibrox and drew a comparison with his experience of Old Trafford.
Servette were pictured in training at Ibrox ahead of their clash with the Scottish side tonight
The 49-year-old was in charge of Anderlecht in 2017 when the Belgians lost a Europa League quarter-final to Manchester United after extra-time.
‘It’s a motivation for our players,’ he said, when asked about playing in front of 50,000 Rangers fans. ‘They must stay focused and deliver a good performance but they should enjoy it. It’s the first time for some of them and an amazing opportunity.
‘I’ve had a few experiences like that. It’s an honour to be here. Like that game against Manchester United, this will be a high-level encounter.
‘It’s something I appreciate about British football, the atmosphere, and I know that goes for my players.’
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