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SFA chief wants ‘as many as possible’ at Hampden games

Ian Maxwell says if no fans are allowed in for any of the four games this year it could cost them £3m in lost revenue.

SFA chief wants ‘as many as possible’ at Hampden games SNS Group

The SFA chief executive is keen to get as many football supporters back into Hampden as possible for four big games at the end of the year.

Ian Maxwell says the governing body will do everything it can to get football matches open to the public as soon as it is safe to do so.

Scotland will play Israel in a postponed Euro 2020 play-off game on October 8 before two Scottish Cup semi-finals three weeks later and a final in December.

Maxwell is confident that social distancing measures will have been relaxed enough by then to allow at least some fans to attend, but says a worst case scenario of a completely empty Hampden for the fixtures would cost the SFA £3m in lost revenue.

He said: “The Scottish government has been clear that there is a willingness to get fans back into the stadiums when it is safe to do so, so you would like to think with the games being a fairly significant time away we will be able to see some supporters in.

“We are not sure about the numbers, obviously we will have to work with the government to make sure protocols are in place but everyone is very keen to get as many supporters in as possible and if we can get some in for the semi-final then you would like to think those numbers could be increased for the final – but it is just a waiting game at this point in time.

“I would love to be able to make an educated guess at how many will be in but we just don’t know, there is so much uncertainty about it. We will get that number as high as we can, there is no doubt about that but we just can’t give any clarity on what that will look like at all I am afraid.”

The full financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Scottish football is yet to be realised, but according to the SFA’s projections they could be set to lose out on millions.

He added: “The impact of having no fans in the play-off game, the semi-final or the final would be around £3m, in terms of the SFA that would be the loss that we would be looking at but obviously we want to mitigate that by getting supporters back into the games as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Hearts will take on Hibernian in an Edinburgh Derby and Celtic will play Aberdeen in the rearranged Scottish Cup semi-finals to be held on October 31 and November 1, before the winners meet in the final on December 20.