KILMARNOCK manager Kenny Shiels has called on the Scottish government to boost crowds at football matches by part-subsidising ticket prices.
The Northern Irishman claims that, by making admission 50 per cent cheaper, attendances would double. However, if that doesn’t happen, he wants Alex Salmond to bridge that gap.
Shiels insists that clubs are so vital to their local communities that they merit funding from Holyrood.
“Football is the biggest industry in Scotland and clubs have to look at ways of getting more spectators in,” he said. “The way to do that is to cut the admission price. If it is £22 then make it half that price and, if they don’t get double the amount of supporters, then the Government should subsidise the shortfall.
“The Government has to come and subsidise football, which provides so much for community and entertainment over a 40-week period – it’s not like Rod Stewart coming in and doing a concert then going away again.
“People’s lives are dependent on their football club. People survive off their football. But, if I have to buy a loaf and groceries for my children and I’m not working, I can’t afford £22 and then whatever the cost is to take my son.
“All under-12s should be free and there should be half-price admission for adults. There must be some way of arriving at that.”
Kilmarnock are at home to St Johnstone tomorrow. The visitors, who competed in the Europa League this season, drew only 3,037 fans for last Saturday’s SPL game against Ross County and Shiels insists that politicians must intervene.
“If St Johnstone get an average of 3,000 but you half the price to get in and they don’t get 6,000, then they have not gained financially,” said Shiels. “But, if they get 5,000, the Government should subsidise the rest. There must be some way of arriving at that. People are having to pay too much for games. The Government has to come in.”