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Hearts, Hibs criticise SPFL for cutting Betfred Cup ticket allocations

Hearts, Hibs criticise SPFL for cutting Betfred Cup ticket allocations
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Rangers and Celtic were handed extra tickets for the Hampden games next month.

Hearts and Hibernian have both expressed frustration at seeing their Betfred Cup semi-final ticket allocations cut.

Rangers and Celtic were handed extra tickets for the Hampden games on November 2-3 after a number of tickets for the Edinburgh clubs' fans remained unsold.

Hearts had previously announced they received an initial quota of 17,000 for their Sunday encounter with Rangers, while Hibs had said their tickets were on general sale last Friday.

Hibs announced the Scottish Professional Football League had taken a "unilateral decision" to reduce their share, claiming the action was contrary to their stated desire to retain a section allowing children and pensioners to buy concession tickets.

Chief executive Leeann Dempster said: "Whilst the club accepts the need to ensure the best possible attendance at showpiece games, it is our view that it would have been reasonable and practicable for the SPFL to accede to our request to retain a higher number of less expensive tickets. The response has been disappointing and frustrating.

"It's my view that segregation would not have been an issue for the area we requested, and as it is the decision taken means the vast majority of Hibs fans now wishing to go to the game will have to pay the higher price ticket regardless of their age or status."

Hearts declared they had been in regular dialogue with the SPFL for two weeks in a bid to prevent a reduction being "imposed prematurely".

A club statement added: "While we have had some success in postponing their decision and limiting the reduction in our allocation, we share the frustration expressed by Hibernian.

"The reason for re-assessing the initial allocation is that the SPFL board, which represents all clubs in the SPFL, previously agreed that clubs would work cooperatively with regard to ticket allocation in order to fulfil the objective of maximising attendance at all semi-final and final games held at Hampden. While we accept this principle, we do not accept that the timing of their intervention, in this case, has been reasonable."

Hearts added that they now had 1,000 East Stand tickets, priced at £25 per adult and £10 concession, plus 2,500 tickets available at £30 only in the South Stand.

Celtic later confirmed that they had sold out their new, improved allocation of 36,000 tickets for their Saturday clash with Hibs.

A club statement read: "To sell out this number of tickets so quickly for a match which kicks off at 5:30pm in the evening is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates the massive contribution which our supporters continue to make to the game in Scotland, something which should be understood and appreciated.

"Our fans deserve enormous credit for once again supporting the tournament in this way."

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Paul Heckingbottom pictured in charge of Hibernian in April 2019
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