Scottish football: Rangers chief executive Charles Green said today that the Scottish Football League must take urgent steps to prevent a repeat of the Elgin City ticket fiasco.
Last Sunday’s televised match between the two clubs was postponed after it emerged that too many tickets had been sold for the Third Division encounter at Borough Briggs.
Elgin escaped with just a £25,000 fine from the SFL, though they have also been ordered to pay the Ibrox club compensation.
Green labelled the affair a “complete mess” and told RangersTV that similar incident must never be allowed to happen.
“You couldn’t make it up but it’s something that seems to happen in Scottish football,” Green said.
“I keep saying I can’t be surprised and a week later something like this happens. There is an issue where fans are desperate to see Rangers and we understand the pressure but safety has to be the most important consideration.
“It’s disappointing for me because fans make special plans to get to games. I have been contacted by Rangers fans who were travelling up on the Friday, had booked hotels months ago and were going to make a weekend of it. So it’s a real problem when these sorts of things happen.
“I have spoken to David Longmuir on a couple of occasions and he has apologised on behalf of the Football League and anyone who knows David would expect him to do so.
“He is annoyed and challenged by what happened. Now we have to look at how we move forward because this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“We know at other games there have been similar issues where people were selling vouchers before matches and there has to be some serious thought by the Football League and all of the clubs because this problem is not going to go away.
“If, over the next couple of years, we continue our pilgrimage through the leagues, if there is no restructuring, then this problem is going to get worse.
“I think we all understand that when Rangers come to town it’s a money-spinner and they lost a lot of money at the weekend in terms of local businesses and corporate hospitality.
“So it has an effect on the local community as well as the football club. The game might be played now in a midweek when there is not so much money to be made and will the game be shown live as was planned last Sunday? Who knows? So it’s a complete mess and a lost opportunity.
“There has to be a balance between maximising revenues when Rangers come to town and a situation like this where they have effectively killed the goose that laid the golden egg.”
Green, whose club host Elgin in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup this weekend, added: “The directors of Elgin will have a big sense of responsibility and when they come here on Sunday I’m sure they’ll want to apologise first hand.
“They have been here already this season and we made them welcome and I’m sure we will again.
“I can’t suggest for a second that the whole of the Elgin board are complicit in this incident and therefore we have to be reasonable.
“What I would say to Rangers fans is that the Elgin fans are as innocent as the Rangers fans in this matter so they should get the usual Ibrox welcome we have extended to all of the Third Division clubs this year.”
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