MSPs call on SFA to reverse Scottish Cup final kick-off switch
A Holyrood committee is calling on football bosses to schedule next month’s Scottish Cup final at the traditional time, warning the delayed kick-off sets a “dangerous precedent” for sport in Scotland.
Clare Haughey, convener of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, challenged the Scottish Football Association (SFA) over what she said was its “regrettable decision” to stage the showpiece match at 5.30pm on Saturday June 3.
This year’s Hampden showdown, between Celtic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, has been scheduled later to avoid a clash with the FA Cup final between Manchester City and Manchester United, which kicks off at 3pm the same day.
Celtic and Inverness bosses have expressed disappointment at the decision.
Ms Haughey has now raised the issue with SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell.
In a letter sent on behalf of the committee, she said changing the kick-off time had “caused considerable disruption to those travelling fans who had already made travel arrangements prior to it being announced”.
She also said there are “safety implications of a later kick-off time”, as well as concern that “the decision sets a dangerous precedent for other major sporting events in Scotland”.
Ms Haughey said: “On this basis, I would urge the SFA to reconsider its decision and to reinstate the traditional kick-off time of 3pm for this year’s Scottish Cup final.”
The SNP MSP added that if it is no longer possible to reinstate the original 3pm kick-off, the SFA should “outline what further steps you will be taking to ensure the safety of all those attending the match”.
Highlands MSP Emma Roddick, who is an Inverness fan, has already written to the SFA to highlight concerns, as has Drew Hendry, the SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey.
Mr Maxwell said the SFA had to “consider a number of factors when the FA Cup was moved from a later kick-off to 3pm” and if it was to start then there would be a scheduling conflict between the Scottish Cup final, FA Cup final, and Uefa Women’s Champions League Final.
He said: “A 5.30pm kick-off will ensure a sold-out stadium and prime Saturday evening television.”
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