THE Scottish Football League could reach a decision as early as tomorrow on how to deal with Elgin City, after the club’s Third Division match with Rangers was called off because too many tickets had been sold.
SFL chief executive David Longmuir repeated his insistence that the postponement had been made in the interests of public safety, and said he was optimistic that other clubs would avoid actions similar to Elgin’s. “I was dismayed – that was my reaction,” Longmuir said of being told on Friday of the excessive sale of tickets for the game, which should have been played yesterday. “I was fully briefed at all points about what was going on and we made a decision late on Friday afternoon to call the game off. That was 100 per cent about public safety.
“I’m more than comfortable about the league’s ability to cope with big crowds, provided clubs stick to what is allowable. On this occasion, that wasn’t the case. This is a message to any club contemplating that kind of conduct that we won’t tolerate it. The game won’t go ahead.”
Longmuir expects to receive reports from his own staff and from Elgin shortly, and will then announce any disciplinary action. “We’ll make a judgment on Elgin once we see a full report. I would hope that any club contemplating that kind of thing should be completely dissuaded right away. We should not need to deal with Elgin to make clubs realise that cannot happen.” The SFL also plans to warn clubs about drastic increases of prices for the visit of Rangers, after Queen’s Park increased their maximum price to £20 for the league match at Hampden next month. “I’ll be taking steps to remind clubs of the recommended minimum prices that we have always applied in the Third Division,” Longmuir said.
“I will make that reminder as forceful as I possibly can. I agree that is profiteering. But we should especially not be profiteering at the expense of safety. That has to be the most important factor.”
Speaking after yesterday’s Supporters Direct Scotland annual conference in Falkirk, Longmuir also said that his body and the SPL would both present their plans for league reconstruction to the professional game board of the SFA on Wednesday. Himself a member of the game board, Longmuir said he hoped the two league bodies would try to find aspects which their plans had in common.