THE suits in the corridors of power at Hampden have made the odd baffling decision or two in their time.

For some observers, their counterparts at La Liga will have topped the lot earlier this month, but their concept to boost the image of the Spanish game isn’t as daft as it initially sounds.

Under new rules, clubs are to be fined if they have stands that are less than 75% full during matches that are broadcast on television. If it is below 50% then the fine will be doubled.

The move is part of an effort to improve the product for TV audiences as the Premier League continues to dwarf all other major divisions in terms of money from broadcasters.

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It will be interesting to see how the new regulations are enforced and what impact they have but the major winners could be the supporters themselves. If clubs need bums on seats, then fans may be charged less to see their side in action.

There is little chance of the SPFL following the La Liga lead and introducing a similar scheme in Scottish football. If they did, they could throw a Christmas office party to rival Hogmanay on Princes Street with all the cash they would collect, right enough.

But the lure of more affordable tickets is an appealing one for the fan in the stand. For the product on show, Scottish football is too expensive.

Some clubs are better than others at attempting to attract punters through the gate and those that are proactive in their fan engagement and PR approach should be commended.

There are a variety of schemes on the go - from family tickets to kids go free and the odd ‘pay what you can’ gimmick. But, overall, do those that follow their team in the Premiership, home and away, week after week, get bang for their buck? Probably not, no.

It is rare that the money-making machine that is the Premier League takes the view of supporters on board but that is what happened earlier this year.

Following a series of protests from fans of various clubs, a cap of £30 was put on all away tickets for the next three seasons. At Southampton, thanks to a deal with sponsors Virgin, travelling fans will pay just £20.

Now, when you have a multi-billion pound TV deal to prop up the balance sheet, it is easier to give up a few quid and Scottish clubs rely on the click of the turnstiles to keep the lights on.

But a similar approach would pay dividends here. A top rate of £20 for adults, £10 for concessions and £5 for Under-16s across the board in the top flight is fair.

Too often our matches are played to the backdrop of rows and rows of empty seats and we need to be proactive in making our game more appealing for people to be involved in.

Giving them a little something back and an extra few quid in their pocket would be a good way to start.


ALAN Archibald branded the postponement of Partick Thistle’s Premiership clash with Celtic on Saturday as ‘farcical’ and it is hard to disagree with the Jags boss.

It is the second time in three years that Thistle have been affected by Celtic cancelling a league game to play in a friendly.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are benefitting from a rule that should never have been brought in to begin with. Once the Premiership season starts, the time for friendlies is over.

Thistle shouldn’t have their schedule interrupted so Celtic can line their pockets and play a fringe side against Inter Milan.

It does nothing for our game and the SPFL should look at stopping this scenario happening again next term.