How Celtic and Rangers reacted to Old Firm away ticket breakthrough - 'very positive thing from my side'

Rodgers and Clement are pleased to have visiting supports back from next season

Both Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and his Rangers counterpart Philippe Clement have welcomed a significant breakthrough in the Old Firm ticket row.

The Scottish Professional Football League announced on Friday lunchtime that an agreement had been struck to ensure about five per cent of Ibrox and Celtic Park will be reserved for away fans during league games between the Glasgow rivals from next season.

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In 2018, Rangers tore up the long-standing convention that saw about 7,500 fans travel across the city on derby days and reduced that figure to about 10 per cent of that total. Inevitably, Celtic followed suit. The situation developed that neither club accepted tickets for each other’s grounds for safety reasons and Celtic refused Rangers’ request for tickets for the December 30 game, with the SPFL unable to enforce vague regulations over away allocations. A compromise has been reached that will see about 2,500-3,000 away fans attend games from next season, but not the remaining two games between the cinch Premiership title challengers this term.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers are happy with the development.Rangers manager Philippe Clement and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers are happy with the development.
Rangers manager Philippe Clement and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers are happy with the development.

Rodgers hopes the development can lead to the restoration of traditional allocations for away fans against Rangers. “It’s absolutely great news for everyone,” he said. “It’s certainly something this club have championed for a number of years. It’s the iconic nature of the fixture and it’s because of the supporters. So to be able to get 2,500 supporters into the stadium, and hopefully that can grow as well, but to have them in is everything.

“The game is about the players on the field and the supporters in the stand and, especially in this fixture, this is really what makes it. So it’s absolutely fantastic news and not before time as well. The aim at Celtic was never to change it, so if it can get back to where it was before it was changed then that would be absolutely great news for everyone.”

Clement also welcomed the news. “Everyone loves football with two sides if fans sing towards each other and to have this atmosphere,” the Belgian said. “No-one enjoyed the Covid period when there were no fans. That was really difficult. For me it was also really strange to play at Celtic Park with no supporters of ourselves, that was a first time for me. It was a strange experience. I think everybody, every player, every manager wants both sides in the stadium and football is about that. It is entertainment from two teams so it is a very positive thing from my side.”

The SPFL stated both clubs would provide ticket allocations of “around five per cent”. “This will be effective from Scottish Premiership season 2024-25, subject to all necessary requirements being satisfied at both Ibrox and Celtic Park,” a statement added. “It does not affect the remaining two league matches between the clubs in season 2023-24, which will remain at a zero allocation for away supporters.”

The capacity of Ibrox is 50,817, while Celtic Park holds 60,411.

Rangers stated the agreement had been reached “following input from both clubs, the SPFL, local authorities, and the league’s broadcast partners”. A club statement added: “While this will not affect the two remaining league derbies this season, from next season, both clubs will be required to provide five per cent of their stadia to the away team for Old Firm games only — mirroring the UEFA European match model. Rangers’ position has always been for away supporters to be present at these games and with this move, a significant number of our fans will be able to support our team at Parkhead in seasons ahead.”

The Ibrox club stated that alternative seating arrangements for affected supporters in the Broomloan Stand had been identified.



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