The Ibrox club announced on Tuesday evening that their supporters should not attend the match at Tannadice in protest at what they felt has been unfair treatment by United and chairman Stephen Thompson, particularly during the summer when the Rangers newco was not given a place in the SPL. Thompson had also refused to refund Rangers fans when a match at Tannadice between the two clubs in 2009 was abandoned at half-time due to adverse weather conditions.
United responded yesterday by revealing that they planned on discussing a "number of related matters" with the SFA – including whether they would be obliged to share the revenue generated from the tie if no visiting supporters are present – and the topic will also be discussed at today's board meeting. Sky Sports announced yesterday they would be broadcasting the tie live with a 12.45pm kick-off.
A statement released by United read: "It is with huge disappointment that we read both the content and tone of the statement from Rangers, stating that they will not be taking any tickets for our Scottish Cup tie in February and urging their supporters not to attend. However, we do not intend to enter into a war of words with Rangers or to dignify their position by responding in kind.
"We have noted their decision not to take any tickets for this cup tie and will now act accordingly in arranging the match. The statement from the Rangers makes it clear that their fans should not attend. We have therefore raised a number of related matters with the Scottish FA and will be making no further public statement until their advice has been received."
A lengthy joint statement from ArabTRUST and The Federation of Dundee United Supporters Clubs added: "In a time when Scottish football needs to look to the future and how we can rebuild our game, it's sad that some parties choose to refer to past alleged indiscretions against their club as an excuse to not attend the match. In the instances referred to by Rangers supporters, a court of law decided that Dundee United had acted appropriately in respect of ticketing post the abandoned game in 2009. As for the decision by the SPL to take action against Rangers in the summer, this was made by the majority of clubs – not only Dundee United.
"We believe the stance taken by Rangers brings them into disrepute in respect of the Scottish Cup. We therefore call on the SFA to act strongly, in particular by stating that the normal competition rules in respect of an equal split of gate money do not apply in this case and that all revenues should be retained by Dundee United.
"We also put trust in the SFA using their powers to ensure that fans are free to choose whether to attend games or not and that our competitions, which rely on spectator participation to ensure continued commercial and media profile, are not devalued as a result of the actions of one member club against another."