The Scottish FA has responded to criticism from their women’s national team, suggesting the players have misunderstood a ticketing policy that angered stars.
Ahead of the team’s World Cup qualifier against Spain next Tuesday, members of the squad tweeted near-identical messages questioning the limited number of tickets on sale for the match at Hampden Park.
Highlighting a graphic of the national stadium that only showed six sections of the South Stand as having tickets for sale, team captain Rachel Corsie and other prominent members of the team asked how the game could grow if only “a fraction” of the capacity was being used. The tweets urged the Scottish FA to do more.
In response, the governing body has issued a statement saying that the ticket sales have been misunderstood and that the graphic only represents an initial allocation, with more sections opened when demand requires them.
The Scottish FA also defended its record promoting women’s football, saying more money would be spent to attract fans to the Spain match than on any Scotland Women’s game so far.
The Hampden bosses went further, saying that staff working on the game had been hurt by the accusations they were not doing their best, and suggesting that the players did not have to make their grievance public.
The statement read: “The ticketing sales process used at Hampden Park is identical to most across Scottish football, with tickets sold in blocks, in line with ongoing demand. This procedure is long-established for all events within our stadium – including the recent men’s UNICEF friendly against Poland – to optimise the atmosphere for each event.
“The Scottish FA was therefore surprised by the flurry of identical social media posts last night from members of the Scotland Women’s National Team under the misapprehension that insufficient tickets are being sold for next Tuesday’s vital FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifier against Spain at the national stadium.
“Every seat in Hampden Park will be made available should the demand require it – and we urge football fans across the country to do their bit to support Pedro Martinez Losa and his team.”
The response also detailed efforts that were being made to promote the game, saying that they had already distributed tickets and would be backed with a further marketing campaign. it also drew attention to the timing of the protest, implying it diverted attention from an age-level international.
It read: “Indeed, the Scottish FA has already gifted 2000 to local clubs to help cheer on the team. It is also worth pointing out that for this match, the Scottish FA has allocated the biggest marketing spend for a Scotland Women’s National Team game, which has included prominent player-focused Bring The Noise outdoor and social media advertising.
“The staff who will work tirelessly until kick-off to promote the match have been hugely disappointed by the post, especially when the question could have been answered easily, and without negative headlines and ill-informed sharing.
“The timing was especially disappointing given the posts were published midway through the Scotland Women’s Under-19 team’s UEFA EURO Round Two victory against Kazakhstan in Edinburgh. That this match was streamed live, with dedicated production and commentary, should reinforce the Scottish FA’s commitment to women’s football at all levels.
“We hope the SWNT can refocus and inspire the nation against Spain on Tuesday.”