herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Scotland's supporters seethe over hike in ticket prices for vital Ireland showdown

Scotland fans are snubbing their national team, opening the door for Ireland supporters to buy tickets for the November 14 Euro qualifier at Celtic Park.

Massive price hikes have upset the Tartan Army with the lure of a 'friendly' with England three days after the Ireland match forcing many fans to pick between the two fixtures.

When Scotland opened their Euro 2016 campaign against Georgia last month there were 17,000 empty seats inside Ibrox despite a fan-friendly Saturday tea-time kick-off.

Around 20,000 seats are still available for the Celtic Park showdown with the Friday night fixture incurring extra expense for the many Scotland fans who live a distance from the ground.

On Wednesday, the FAI pointed the finger of blame at the SFA for their allocation of 3,209 tickets - the mimimum number governed by UEFA - claiming that the match was a sell-out.

Rather than give the FAI a larger allocation, the SFA are selling tickets to anyone on their website after Scotland fans voted with their wallets over the price rises.

"We were presented with a fait accompli when we went to Hampden for talks," Jim Brown of the Association of Tartan Army Clubs said.

"I sat with another two members of ATAC and told the SFA we would accept an increase in prices but in most cases they have been up to 40 per cent.

"They insisted the prices were fair and equitable and tried to draw comparisons with the FA Cup final and David Guetta concerts. They felt their tickets had been underpriced for some considerable time and this was an opportunity to take them up to a level that was fair and equitable.

Rebound

"We warned such a leap in prices would rebound on them and we saw it against Georgia when 17,000 tickets went unsold.

"The prices are outrageous. We asked for a reduction but knew it was virtually impossible as the prices had been announced and tickets were going on sale two days later.

"However, we proposed all those who attended every game were allowed to attend two future friendlies for free. We were told it was not commercially viable."

A Scotland 'season ticket' for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers cost £115 - an average of £23 per match. For the current campaign the same package costs £190 and includes a ticket for the England match with new members having to pay £45 for the right to buy tickets.

While the SFA attempt to cash in on interest in Gordon Strachan's side domestic football ticket pricing has dropped sharply.

Celtic season ticket holders were able to buy a three-match package for their Europa League group stage games for £60 with the same package priced at £66 for non-season ticket holders.

Tickets for Scotland v Ireland are available at £35 on the SFA website with tickets priced at £50 also available for the game against England.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News