The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has defended its decision to provide Aberdeen with more tickets than Celtic for their forthcoming Scottish Cup final clash.
Celtic, the Premiership champions, could receive 700 fewer tickets than their opponents based on their “preferred” East Stand at Glasgow’s Hampden Park holding fewer fans than the West Stand, the SFA said.
The club had said it was “very disappointed” over the allocation for the final on May 27, with the club releasing a statement on its website stating that it had been ineffective in securing a 50-50 split at the 51,866-capacity Hampden.
Aberdeen have an average attendance of 16,000 this season, compared to Celtic’s 55,500.
“Clearly we are very disappointed that our attempts to ensure an equitable allocation of tickets have been unsuccessful,” Celtic said. “We have tried everything to ensure that this could be achieved.”
Celtic said its suggested proposals to the SFA were not accepted, but would “maximise the ticket allocation for our fans,” including “reviewing the segregation arrangements,” a “reconfiguration of the upper south stand” and “the creation of a neutral area to best accommodate supporters through the ‘football family.’”
A club spokesperson added in their statement: “With Celtic supporters attending matches at Hampden in such huge numbers across this season, an equal split in allocations is the least that we would have expected for such a prestigious and important match.”
The SFA defended its decision in a statement response: “The allocation of tickets has been handled in full consultation with both participating clubs and the available seating at Hampden Park will be split on a 50-50 basis, as has been standard practice in previous cup finals where a sell-out crowd is anticipated.
“It should also be noted that one of the reasons Celtic will potentially receive fewer tickets than Aberdeen is that the East Stand, Celtic’s preferred stand for Scottish Cup matches at the national stadium, contains fewer seats than the West Stand.
“In addition, the ‘football family’, made up of Scottish FA members, commercial partners, other recognised football organisations and staff, have the right to buy match tickets for the final.
“This has impacted on the number of tickets the clubs will receive to sell to their supporters with demand for tickets in the Celtic areas outweighing that of the Aberdeen areas.”
Aberdeen’s recent request to receive a 50-50 split allocation will be fulfilled, despite only selling just over half of their semi-final allocation. The club will be aiming for its first victory in the competition for 27 years.
Last season, Rangers and Hibernian were both given 21,000 tickets at Hampden Park, despite the former’s average attendance being five times that of its opponents.