St Johnstone chairman Steven Brown has criticised the
not to allocate his club more tickets for Saturday’s League Cup semi-final.
The Scottish Professional Football League decided to make extra tickets available to Hibernian fans instead because of concerns over segregation.
Hibs had already received around 11,500 tickets, with Saints allocated 3,400.
Brown said he understood fans’ “anger and disappointment” at the timing of “this unacceptable fiasco”.
The decision came five days before the game at Hearts’ Tynecastle Stadium.
In a separate statement on
Hearts owner Ann Budge revealed that the Edinburgh outfit had been forced to increase surveillance and security inside and outside their ground to address problems caused by recent fan behaviour.
“I fully share in the frustration caused by the delay in the announcement not to allocate Main Stand tickets to Saints fans and I can understand the anger and disappointment of ticketless fans.
“I can assure supporters that, from the outset, these Main Stand tickets were intended for St Johnstone fans.
“However, with increased concerns about access, egress and segregation arrangements in that corner of the ground being raised by safety and security staff at Tynecastle and Police Scotland, the SPFL took the decision that the final approval for the release of these tickets to St Johnstone would be delayed in order to gauge sales of Main Stand tickets by Hibernian FC and maximise the chances of an alternative segregation and operational arrangement within the Main Stand.”
Scottish Championship club Hibernian had receiving approximately 11,500 tickets for the 17,529 capacity stadium in their home city when the initial allocation was announced.
Their Premiership opponents were allocated the 3,400 capacity Roseburn Stand.
However, the Perth club were told to expect a further tranche for the Main Stand, as had been the case when they played Aberdeen in the 2014 semi-final.
“Coming at a time when fan engagement has been recently stated as a key objective for the future of our game, I find the timing of this decision – five days before the match – outrageous and I would state that this is totally unacceptable to St Johnstone Football Club,” added Brown.
“I would hope that lessons are learned from this fiasco in order to avoid any repeat of the uncertainty and disillusionment suffered by the people who matter most – the supporters.”
Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has
into a decision he considered “shocking”, “shambolic” and “grossly unfair”.