4 October 2018
North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald has welcomed the news that the SPFL has agreed to meet with Police Scotland to review how they schedule their matches, but warned that Transport Scotland, ScotRail and other public transport providers need to be included in these discussions too to ensure that the organisation of future matches is fair to all fans involved.
After raising the issue at First Minister’s Questions, Lewis said :
“The SPFL’s change of heart has made it easier and safer for many Aberdeen fans to attend this importing sporting occasion, but this situation should never have been allowed to happen in the first place.
“The news that the SPFL is to meet with Police Scotland to discuss this issue is welcome, but the police are not the only organisation which needs to be consulted when it comes to deciding when and where these flagship matches should be held.
“I have tabled a motion calling for the SPFL to consult with all relevant organisations before scheduling matches in future, including those responsible for transporting fans to and from the games, in order to ensure that fans in the North East are not discriminated against for the benefit of other teams or TV audiences.
“I have also written to the First Minister to ask her to ensure that Transport Scotland and ScotRail are also included in these discussions with the SPFL, along with British Transport Police, who are responsible for ensuring public safety on our trains.
“Public safety is a vital part of scheduling football matches, but it is just as important to ensure that Aberdeen FC fans from the North East are able to share in their club’s success when they reach semi-finals and finals.”
Motion tabled in the Scottish Pariament by Lewis 3rd. October 2018
Title: SPFL Decision on League Cup Semi-finals Welcome
That the Parliament welcomes the decision by the SPFL to reverse its plan to hold both League Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park on the same day; believes that the original decision, which was made without consulting ScotRail or Transport Scotland, would have made it impossible for Aberdeen fans travelling from the north east to get to Glasgow by train in time for kick-off; considers that this should be the last time a major Scottish football match is scheduled in a way which takes no account of the supporters of the clubs involved, and, to ensure that as many fans as possible are able to attend these great occasions, calls on the football authorities to guarantee that, in future, there will be full consultation with the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, ScotRail and other transport providers, as well as those responsible for policing and public safety, before any such matches are scheduled.