FANS have criticised the Rangers Football Club board after supporters' clubs received warnings they could face a lower allocation of tickets for away games if they do not get enough season ticket holders.

The club circular sent to registered secretaries has been widely criticised by fans' organisations, described as "blackmail" by one group leader and "heavy-handed" by another.

The development comes as fans were urged not to hand over season ticket cash amid claims the board were stalling on a move to safeguard the future of Ibrox and Murray Park, the club's training complex near Milngavie.

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The circular came in a briefing that talks about how the club chief executive Graham Wallace and club manager Ally McCoist were "working closely to ensure they are capable of challenging for future honours in the traditions of Rangers Football Club".

It refers to supporters' club gradings based on the number of season ticket holders which determine how many or how few tickets will be given for away games.

The email says: "It will ... be in each supporters' club's interest to ensure you have listed all of your season ticket members. Failure to do so could affect your club's category for the coming season.

"We know your patience may have been tested over the last few years - but we are all in this together and your loyal support is vital during this crucial time, as we endeavour to take this great club back to the SPFL."

Drew Roberton, secretary of the Rangers Supporters Association, said: "It sounds like an empty threat to get you to renew. It's heavy handed."

No-one at Rangers was available to comment last night.