1:56:44 PMFans criticise Hampden 'shambles'
Furious Scotland fans have criticised the Scottish Football Association after hundreds of Tartan Army fans missed the start of the match against Croatia. |
Only two kiosks were opened outside the ground to allow fans to collect pre-paid tickets, causing large queues to build up before kick-off.
Many fans were still waiting outside when Croatia scored the opening goal.
A spokesman for Hampden Park, who issue tickets for the SFA, said lessons had been learned from the chaotic scenes.
The problem was apparently caused by tickets not being posted to fans over the Easter weekend, meaning many people were forced to collect them before the game.
Supporters who had not bought tickets in advance were also able to buy tickets from the kiosks.
Police and stewards eventually decided to allow some fans - who were still standing in the queue 20 minutes after the match had started - into the ground without tickets.
However, some were forced to watch the match from the west stand despite having paid extra for more expensive north stand seats.
Hampden was only about half full for the game, which was George Burley's first since taking over as manager of the national team.
Hamish Husband, spokesman for the Association of Tartan Army Clubs said there are problems with the structure of ticket allocations for friendly matches.
"I passed the queue on the way in to the stadium because my ticket was pre-booked through the Tartan Army, but the pre-booked stadium tickets are problematic.
"There's issues with the whole structure because he police insist on all-tickets for these matches, when they're cleary not going to sell out.
"So why not have pay at the gate - that's the way out of it.
"What's the difference between a turnstyle and a booth? Just let people pay in."
Among other angry supporters who posted on the Tartan Army message board was jamtartanarmy, who described the situation as a "total disgrace".
He added: "Had 20 kids with me and arrived at 7.15pm, getting off the bus to go and pick up the extra four tickets we had had to order to accommodate the whole party.
"Needless to say, when I saw the queue, I knew there was no way it was moving anywhere.
"By the time I waited until 7.45pm, there must have been around 800-1,200 people in the entire queue.
"I had to go and take the kids in whom we did have tickets for and leave some accompanying adults standing outside. They were eventually let in at 8.20pm when they opened up the turnstiles and let folk in for free."
Fellow supporter Big Bri Fae Kdy posted: "I saw the queue waiting at the SFA 'portacabins' trying to buy tickets before the game, surely if they had decided to open 'pay-at-the-gate' turnstiles it would've been a lot easier?"
David Kells, the managing director of Hampden Park Ltd, said extra measures would be put in place before future matches to ensure there was no repeat.
He added: "We learned a lot of lessons from last night.
"Had the queue been left as it was, people would probably have been standing there for another half hour or three quarters of an hour before they would have got in.
"A lot of people were also arriving at the stadium and joining the queue at the last minute. We would urge people to come along to the ground early to collect tickets."
However, Mr Kells said he was not in a position to give refunds to fans who missed a large chunk of the first half, but compensation will be offered to fans who were re-allocated to lower-priced seats.
A spokesman for the SFA said an "immediate investigation" into the problems would be carried out.
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