Celtic have refused their ticket allocation for next month’s Old Firm derby against Rangers at Ibrox.
Rangers have offered their city rivals 708 tickets for the Premiership clash on September 3, which is in line with recent allocations in the showpiece fixture.
However, Celtic have told Rangers that they will not be taking up the offered allocation, meaning there will be no away supporters in the stadium when Brendan Rodgers and Michael Beale’s teams face off.
Discussions over the issue have been ongoing but Celtic maintain that they have serious safety concerns in the stadium, citing recent incidents where fans and staff have been hit with objects thrown by home fans.
At the previous derby, held at Ibrox in January, 700 Celtic fans were in attendance, with one supporter injured after being struck with a bottle.
In April 2022 at Ibrox, Celtic physio Daniel Friel was struck with a bottle thrown from the stands and required stitches to a head wound.
Following talks between the sides, Celtic feel there has been no material change.
Rangers still expect to be offered an allocation of tickets for the next Old Firm game, at Celtic Park in December. The Ibrox club have written to the SPFL to inform the league body that they expect tickets, but STV understands that it would be highly unlikely that Celtic would make any seats available for away fans.
SPFL rules don’t state any mandatory minimum allocation for away fans, stating only that “a reasonable number” is made available, in agreement with the opposition.
However, rule I27 says that the SPFL board can make a final decision in the event of a dispute.
It reads: “The home club must make provision for the admission of such reasonable number of visiting supporters at every home league match and play-off match as may be agreed in advance with the visiting club and, in the event of their being unable to agree such number not later than 14 days prior to the date of the league match or play-off match in question, the number of visiting supporters allowed shall be
determined by the board whose decision shall be final and binding.”
Traditionally, both clubs admitted around 7,000 away fans to derby fixtures but in recent years this has been cut to less than 1,000.
While neither club has completely ruled out a return to the previous high numbers, it is unlikely to happen in the near future. While discussing season ticket sales in May, Rangers CEO James Bisgrove said that the uptake from Rangers fans meant that only around 700 visiting supporters could be accommodated at league fixtures.