Sunday 8 December 2019

Scottish FA defend decision to up ticket prices for Ireland clash at Celtic Park

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, left, and assistant Roy Keane
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, left, and assistant Roy Keane

Gavin McCafferty

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan insists the increase in ticket prices for Scotland's upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying campaign is "fair and equitable" - using a comparison with a David Guetta gig to support his case.

The SFA has come under fire from supporters after unveiling prices for five qualifiers and a friendly against England which see Scotland Supporters Club members paying up to £250 for the six-match season ticket on top of membership fees of up to £55.

The £250 season tickets for the Hampden North Stand, for example, are up from £195 for five World Cup qualifiers and a similar ticket for Scotland's Wembley friendly in August last year.

The cheapest adult public sales tickets for a single qualifier is £35 (€44) while the comparable ticket for the England friendly on November 18 is £50.

Regan claimed the price increase was justified because of Scotland's opponents - they face Germany, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Poland and Gibraltar - as well as the cost of moving several fixtures away from Hampden, which has been temporarily transformed into an athletics venue for the Commonwealth Games. Scotland face both Republic of Ireland and England at Celtic Park, which holds 10,000 more fans than Hampden, and take on Georgia at Ibrox.

And Regan listed prices for "similar events", including "David Guetta, Bellahouston Park - £44.00 + fulfilment fee", "Scotland Rugby 6 Nations - £80-£130" and "FA Cup Final, England - £45, £65, £85 and £115". Guetta is a French DJ who has had several number-one UK hits.

Regan also claimed the increases reflected "higher-profile matches including the new world champions, Germany as well as both England & the Republic of Ireland" and a "substantial increase in Scottish FA logistical costs across three stadia including the provision of appropriate levels of stewarding & policing".

In an email to a supporter, Regan added: "The Scottish FA works very hard to ensure that our ticket pricing is fair, competitive and equitable and we believe that with the season ticket offer across our campaign matches and a high profile international challenge match we have managed to do that.

"Whilst we appreciate that there is an uplift it is important to factor in the additional high profile friendly against England as well as recognising that there are other lower category options available for those not wishing to purchase the top priced seats, both as a season ticket and on a match by match basis."

The SFA earlier compared their prices with Irish season tickets, which cost up to £195 for three qualifiers, three friendlies, including a game against England, and the FAI Cup final.

An SFA spokesman said: "The Irish season ticket price is 250 euros and does not include the Germany game and is only a season ticket up until the end of season 2014-15.

"There are three qualifiers and three friendly matches in that package. The SFA's season ticket is for the entire campaign. What do people think is a fair price?

"Fans always throw up the argument that ticket prices in Germany are cheaper.

"That is because Germany has 10 times the TV revenue and a vibrant domestic league that sells out which Scotland don't have.

"The same thing happened the last time and the Scotland season ticket ended up selling out."

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