Celtic great Kenny Dalglish believes the Scottish Cup final should be moved to an alternative venue in order for fans to be allowed into the stadium.
The BBC reported last week that Hampden won’t be able to host any supporters for the May 22nd showpiece. This is due to the fact UEFA will take control of the stadium from May 14th onwards. Special dispensation has been awarded to the SFA in order for the Scottish Cup to finish off, but no fans will enter.
That’s even more frustrating for supporters given that Hampden will host around 12,000 fans for their Euro 2020 matches. Scotland will face Czech Republic and Croatia on June 14th and 22nd respectively. Both of these fixtures will be at the national stadium with 25% of the ground full.
Added to the agony is the fact that England will host test events this spring whilst Scotland does not appear to have any in the pipeline [The Independent]. And a furious Dalglish believes the final should be moved in order to accommodate some fans.
“We need to look at moving”
As quoted by the Sunday Post, Dalglish said: “I’m angry that allowances can’t be made by UEFA to hand Hampden Park over for the showpiece Final. I mean, the Final is 23 days before the opening Euro fixture in Mount Florida between Scotland and the Czechs on June 14. Does Hampden really needed to be handed over on May 14? Can allowances not be made to stage the Final of a 147-year-old competition?
“If the government and the scientific intelligence indicates that we could have supporters inside Hampden, but UEFA won’t allow it, then we need to look at moving to another stadium. Surely that makes sense.
“After the year that we’ve had, it would be an injustice if fans were denied seeing this game, having already had two Finals this season inside an empty Hampden. So we should see how the competition goes in the next few weeks. And once we know the semi-final line-up, two stadiums should be identified and put on stand-by to host the Final. With proper communication and some forward planning, we can still make the Scottish Cup Final a spectacle for fans to be inside a stadium.”
What do players want more – a national stadium trip or fans inside the stadium?
It would be interesting to know what players and supporters would prefer for the Scottish Cup final. How much does a trip to the national stadium actually mean? Is it more important than getting some bodies in through the gates?
If it’s a case of one over the other, some big decisions would need to be made. But it’s not as if we haven’t seen different grounds host national finals in the past.
The likes of Celtic Park and Ibrox have both been used for League Cup and Scottish Cup finals. It’s not inconceivable that an alternative deal could be struck. Granted, there would need to be willing clubs whilst the SFA would need to be proactive.
Unfortunately, there appears to be an acceptance that the cup final will go ahead with nobody in attendance. There are no official reported discussions happening about rearranging the venue.
But for those who watched St Johnstone vs Livingston in the Betfred Cup final last month, it was a damp squib. With no fans in attendance, it became a bit of a brutal watch. At the very least, the showpiece would become more attractive if there were spectators in the ground.
We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks. But whether the venue for the cup final will truly be amended? Don’t bet on it.