“This development is disappointing,” SWPL Board to discuss Ibrox ticket ban tomorrow

The Scottish Women’s Premier League have this afternoon responded to The Celtic Star on the ticketing controversy that occurred at yesterday’s Glasgow Derby match at Ibrox. Celtic fans had their tickets retracted on Saturday morning after theRangers claiming that ‘risk’ supporters were planning to attend the game at Ibrox and asked Celtic to pay for their security costs.

Celtic did not accept that any of the 700 Celtic supporters who had bought tickets, selling out the club’s allocation, posed any sort of risk and noted that the only violence or trouble at a Celtic FC Women match came when theRangers Assistant Manager Craig McPherson – who was in the dug-out at Ibrox yesterday – assaulted the then Celtic manager Fran Alonso, after launching a cowardly attack from behind. The incident was caught by the Sky Sports cameras and happened I full view of hundreds of shocked children in the crowd.

Celtic have hosted theRangers three times this season at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie and theRangers supporters buying their tickets to watch the games have always been admitted and there has been o trouble whatsoever.

Football without Fans is Nothing

The SWPL responded to The Celtic Star’s enquiry today saying:

“Growing attendances is a key strategic focus of the league so this development is disappointing, and we will be engaging with both clubs to fully understand the circumstances. The matter will also be discussed at our next SWPL Board meeting on Tuesday (20th February).”

It is good to hear that they will attempt to address the situation as this is concerning for the growth of the women’s game in Scotland. Even the players are taking a stance, with Caitlin Hayes saying in a social media post: “Football without fans is nothing. Today women’s football in Scotland was let down. In a weekend where the Emirates was sold out and the growth of the game took an applause, the same could not be said 401 miles away.

“You simply can’t advertise a fixture based upon the opportunity to see representation on a stage, with the false intent to grow the game, when the same opportunity isn’t there for the opposition. Take colours away and you’re denying opportunity for young girls, in particular, to see what they can be, if they dream that dream. That dream isn’t exclusive to the colours you wear but inclusive to all, just like the foundations women’s football was built upon.

“Whatever the circumstances may be; don’t host if you can’t accommodate, plan and fund, accordingly. It’s the reputation of the game that gets damaged. A reputation we are ALL collectively building.”

Elena Sadiku also touched on the issue in her post-match press conference. She said: “It’s a shame because we love our fans, and we want women’s football to grow in Scotland. I think we take a step back when we go in that direction.”

The Rangers manager Jo Potter was also asked about the ban on away supporters at Ibrox after the match and she didn’t try to justify her club’s stance. Potter said: “It’s difficult and I can’t comment too much on it because it’s beyond me, it’s well out of my control. I try to focus on the team and things that are out of my control, I don’t spend too much time on.”

So, the players, the managers and even the league itself is disappointed with theRangers’ decision. They have already ruined away allocations for the Glasgow Derby in men’s football, don’t bring it into the women’s game too…

Maybe the SWPL Board should take a look at the disgusting comments posted on the forum of the official media partner of theRangers, relating to Caitlin Hayes after her Football Without Fans protest yesterday.  And maybe that’s something else that Police Scotland should look at?

And there’s one theory that we’ve heard, as theRangers were attempting to stage this extremely low risk game with no police presence at all (thus saving money), the cops flagged up a reason why they should be there ‘just to be on the safe side’ (just to get paid).

When the Ibrox club realised what it was going to cost them after all, they attempted to pass the bill over to Celtic who, having paid for their own stadium costs three times this season for Glasgow Derbies, told them where to go.

Celtic denied that there were any ‘high risk’ fans within the 700 supporters who had bought tickets and noted that while Celtic are easily the biggest supported team in women’s football in Scotland there has never been any trouble involving Celtic fans, or indeed supporters of any of our opponents.

Celtic also noted that no restrictive conditions were advised by theRangers ahead of this game and Celtic sold and the Celtic supporters all purchased the tickets in good faith. And while the SWPL Board are considering all this they should be as a matter or urgency insist that theRangers are issuing refunds to Celtic supporters immediately.

After what happened to the face-painter, no-one wants to be owed money by a club playing out of Ibrox.

Jessica Elliott

About Author

I'm a student journalist and Celtic supporter. I'm delighted to have been recently appointed women's football writer for The Celtic Star, where the coverage of the Celtic FC Women's team has been incredible and unrivalled over the past three seasons.

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