Hearts chief speaks out on Celtic issue live on radio after lodging official SPFL complaint

By John McGinley

October 2, 2021

Hearts Chief Executive Andrew McKinlay has spoken out on the away support issue at Celtic Park, after lodging an official complaint with the SPFL.

The Scottish Daily Mail [02/10 print edition, page 117] has reported today that both Hearts and Motherwell have written to the league board to query the current situations at Celtic Park and Ibrox.

They want to know why a solution can’t be found that would allow away fans to attend both stadiums.

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Speaking live on Sportsound this afternoon [14:10], McKinlay said: “The issues are to do with red zones and the fans who have been displaced from the red zones have been moved into areas where traditionally those would be moved by away supports. That has been the thing that caused the main issues.

“Now, I am standing here right next to our red zone at Tynecastle so I know how many seats we lose for that. I know Rangers and Celtic lose quite a lot of seats as well. But I am hoping we can get to a place where things are positive, let’s put it that way.”

“We are hopeful there will be a decrease in them fairly soon. I know there has been a lot of talk about both Celtic and Rangers having away fans in when they are playing in Europe.  One of the reasons for that is the UEFA guidelines on red zones are actually different from the domestic guidelines and they are smaller. I think most clubs are in a position now where we would like to see red zones reduced to an extent which would help this issue.”

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There’s a perception out there that Celtic are causing this problem and locking fans out unfairly. However, as McKinlay admits himself, the club’s hands have effectively been tied on this issue.

If there is a reduction in the size of a red zone, away fans will be allowed back into the stadium. That is obvious. Bayer Leverkusen supporters attended on Thursday night with no problem at all.

I do hope the SPFL take their regulations into line with UEFA. That seems like the sensible solution here that will keep everyone happy.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou addresses David Turnbull’s horror Celtic moment.

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