Hibs could join SPFL play-off cash revolt

HIBERNIAN are considering joining the SPFL play-off cash revolt.

Hibs sources have confirmed the issue is under very active discussion. Picture: Greg Macvean
Hibs sources have confirmed the issue is under very active discussion. Picture: Greg Macvean

Rangers are already at odds with the governing body after declaring their intention to allow season-ticket holders into the upcoming Premiership play-offs without charge.

That would break Rule C26 which states that 50 per cent of ticket revenue of each play-off game be shared among all member clubs with free entry prohibited. Motherwell general manager Alan Burrows has also announced that, should the Fir Park side finish 11th in the top flight, he will not charge season ticket holders to watch the home leg of their battle for survival.

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Both clubs have cited the case of Hibs last season, when the Edinburgh outfit received special dispensation to allow their most loyal fans to watch their ill-fated clash with Hamilton for free – resulting in a bumper attendance of 18,031.

It is understood that the Easter Road outfit could seek to repeat the offer. Club sources have confirmed the issue is under “very active discussion”, with a decision possible by the end of the week.

The looming alliance between potentially the three largest clubs in the play-offs will pile pressure on the SPFL, who have said that the matter is under discussion.

Hearts chair Ann Budge has given her backing to Motherwell and Rangers. She believes the SPFL have given themselves little choice in the matter by allowing Hibs to bend the rules last term.

Budge told STV: “It’s what Hibs did last year and it’s difficult to allow one club to do it one year and not allow it the following year. It’s a complex situation but on balance I do believe that it would be the right thing to do.”

Hibs failed in a bid to alter Rule C26 at last week’s SPFL meeting, with their proposal to halve the levy on gate receipts from 50 per cent to 25 per cent failing to receive the required support from member clubs.

On Tuesday, Rangers described charging season ticket holders extra for the season finale as “fundamentally wrong”.

The club issued a statement which said: “It is fundamentally wrong to ask supporters to pay for season tickets and then, at the end of the campaign, expect them to pay again to watch what will now be the most important matches of that same season.

“As well as having a responsibility to the game in general Rangers has to be mindful of their own fans at all times.”

A spokesman for the SPFL said yesterday: “This matter is under active discussion and we expect to arrive at a definitive position in the next few days.”

The issue of play-off funding will become more crucial after this season as the Scottish Football Association has underwritten the first two years of parachute payments.

Clubs relegated from the Premiership through the play-offs receive £500,000 and a further £250,000 if they do not go straight back up.

The SPFL received a financial boost from the Premiership play-offs on Tuesday when it announced a new deal with BT Sport to televise all six games. Only the final was shown last season after the TV companies declined to pay extra for the games on top of their initial deal with the league.