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UEFA and SFA reach Scottish Cup final fan agreement

Rangers v Hibernian – William Hill Scottish Cup Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

UEFA has given the green light for fans to attend the Scottish Cup final at Hampden.

Fans were set to be locked out because the Scottish Football Association will hand over the Euro 2020 host stadium to UEFA for alterations before the May 22 clash between Hibernian and Betfred Cup winners St Johnstone.

But the European governing body has agreed to a request to facilitate some supporters.

A spokesperson said: “We confirm that UEFA has been able to find a solution with the Scottish FA to allow a limited number of spectators for the Scottish Cup final.”

A relaxation of Scottish Government rules will allow crowds of at least 500 at outdoor events from next Monday but events organisers can apply to the local authority to host bigger attendances.

Speaking before the confirmation but after the SFA’s request, St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson said: “It’s great news. It’s a real positive outlook. It’s great from the SFA, obviously they are working really hard to get supporters in.

“Obviously we would like to play at Hampden and get fans in the stadium. It’s great news, although our record has been pretty good with no fans at the stadium.

“The sooner we can get it done and make sure the fans stay safe, the players will really appreciate that.

“It’s something our fans don’t really see very often. We have been there once already in a final with nobody there. It would be fantastic for any number.

“Players for me have performed really well with no fans but it helps when there are supporters in the stadium. So get them through the door as soon as we can do it safely.”

Aberdeen had offered to stage the final when it appeared that fans would be locked out of Hampden but the game is heavily associated with the national stadium, although Saints won their only Scottish Cup at Celtic Park.

Speaking before the news, Hibs head coach Jack Ross said: “Speaking purely personally, that magic of winning the cup at Hampden still remains for me.

“I grew up with Scottish Cup final day being a massive part of my childhood. It was a huge part of my ambitions as a player.

“When you dream of lifting the cup, it’s always within the national stadium – not anywhere else.

“I know it looks different from (how) it did in the 80s and 90s but it’s still the same stadium so for me, I’d always choose to do it at Hampden.

“I know there are all these other dynamics which have come in over the last year-and-a-half that will affect people’s opinions on it.

“But for me I’d always rather win the Scottish Cup in the national stadium.

“For both teams involved in the final, if they’ve got any supporters in any numbers within the stadium then undoubtedly it adds to the occasion.”

The bulk of Scotland’s move to Level 2 restrictions means that the SPFL play-off finals can all take place in front of fans and there are hopes of further relaxations in time for next season.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “From Monday, up to 500 people will be able to attend an outdoor event with seating.

“Let me stress, these are standard limits but events organisers have the ability to make applications to hold bigger events and they will be assessed accordingly.

“We will continue to review the rules on events in consultation with the events sector and updated guidance may well be published during the next three weeks.

“We will be reviewing the guidelines on physical distancing and if it is possible over the next few weeks to relax the current rules, we will do so.”

Crowds of 12,000 had already been planned for the Euro 2020 games at Hampden.