Scotland should give older fans cut-price football tickets, says charity

Scotland's Robert Snodgrass challenges Belgium's Nacer Chadli at a half-empty Hampden Park. Picture: Andy Buchanan / AFP
Scotland's Robert Snodgrass challenges Belgium's Nacer Chadli at a half-empty Hampden Park. Picture: Andy Buchanan / AFP
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An age charity has urged the Scottish Football Association to offer discounted tickets after the latest international match was played at a half empty ground.

Fewer than half of the 51,866 tickets for Scotland's crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Belgium at Hampden last night were sold.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke warned of 'apathy' from the Tartan Army following similarly poor attendance at a previous game against Russia.

Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Sloan has written to the SFA, saying that failing to offer concessionary tickets was a 'missed opportunity to fill the stands.

He added that the opportunity to get to a football match could help tackle loneliness among older people.

An adult full-price ticket costs between £27 and £30, with no discounts for those over retirement age. Junior tickets start at £8.

Mr Sloan said: “We’re disappointed that despite repeated pleas, the SFA still does not offer a discount to older fans. This week’s half-empty stadium for a Euro 2020 qualifier match clearly illustrates this is an own goal for the SFA.

“Many older people have been loyal fans all their lives, but struggle to afford full-price tickets on their pensions. With tens of thousands of tickets unsold for major international matches, the SFA is missing an opportunity to fill the stands.

“This would also be a step in the right direction towards tackling loneliness among older people. Around 200,000 older people in Scotland regularly go a week without speaking to anyone – the equivalent of four full Hampden Park stadiums."

Mr Sloan said a more inclusive price structure would encourage fans to bring older friends and relatives.

“This would be a win-win situation, boosting attendance while rewarding lifelong fans and reaching out to the wider community," he added.

A Scottish FA spokesperson said: “The Scottish FA is committed to ensuring that Scotland matches are accessible to loyal Scotland fans. Scotland supporters can attend Scotland Women’s National Team and Scotland Under-21s matches for only £5 per person. While ticket prices for Men’s internationals are set at the start of each qualifying campaign, prices are constantly reviewed and concession ticket prices for over-65s is one of several options that will be under serious consideration for future campaigns.”