FURIOUS Hearts fans have accused the club of “moving the goalposts” for Scottish Cup final tickets just 36 hours before they were due to go on sale again.
Hundreds of supporters who had been told they were eligible to buy a ticket for Hampden have been left devastated after the club announced changes to its ticket-allocation policy.
Under the loyalty scheme, fans who had accrued between eight and 39 points in the season were in with a chance of a cup final ticket when the second tranche of briefs goes on sale tomorrow at 9am.
But Hearts chiefs decided to raise the bottom threshold from eight to 20 points – following huge demand for season tickets – to ensure a fairer playing field for supporters who attended games most regularly.
The club said it had to take a “responsible view” to the second phase of ticket sales and had frozen the loyalty points scheme.
It is understood the contentious decision was made amid fears that hundreds of fans being turned away empty-handed from the ticket office could spark “unsightly scenes” outside Tynecastle.
Last week, around 800 of the club’s most loyal fans joined five-hour queues to buy tickets on the first day of sale despite being guaranteed a ticket any time during the following week.
Speaking about the 11th-hour change of policy, Steven Kilgour, secretary of the Federation of Hearts Supporters, said: “It’s obviously going to be disappointing for a lot of supporters and there will be a lot of angry people out there.
“I don’t know the reasons behind why they have done this but I can only assume it’s down to demand or that they have crunched the numbers wrongly.”
“My nephew has 11 loyalty points and is only back from Afghanistan but is going to miss out. He’s booked time off as well and paid for flights and everything.
Supporters took to internet forums to vent their frustration, with many claiming the club had “moved the goalposts” at a very late stage.
A poster on Jambos Kickback known as Blairdin said: “This will be massively unpopular with a majority, but it will also ensure that the remaining minority who have been to more matches or who have season tickets get first dibs. Brave move by the club, right thing to do, executed too late.”
A statement on the club website said: “After the incredible scenes last Thursday at Tynecastle, we expect the ticket centre to be exceptionally busy once again. As such we would ask those fans who opt to attend in person to be patient as the ticket centre staff cope with the expected high volume of traffic.”
It is thought there will be no public sale of tickets due to the high demand.
A source within the club said: “We are trying to manage the situation as best we can. There could have been hundreds and hundreds of fans left raging that all the tickets had gone. It’s better to let them know now than later.”