Betfred Cup semi-finals: SPFL statement in full

Hearts could be playing their cup semi-final at Murrayfield. Picture: TSPL
Hearts could be playing their cup semi-final at Murrayfield. Picture: TSPL
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The SPFL has issued a statement confirming it is in discussions over the possibility of moving one of the upcoming Betfred Cup semi-finals to an alternative venue.

The Aberdeen v Rangers and Hearts v Celtic semi-finals were scheduled to both be played on Sunday 28 October at Hampden Park, sparking a mass outcry from supporters and members of the public.

The SPFL have previously stated that they are under contractual obligation to host major cup games involving Rangers at Celtic at the national stadium.

READ MORE: SPFL to consider moving Hearts semi-final to BT Murrayfield

However, following further discussions, this obligation has now been overturned.

Given by SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, the full statement reads: “After the draw, we spoke to Hampden Park Limited to ask whether they would release us from a contractual obligation to host all semi-finals involving the Old Firm at Hampden. They declined our request and we were unwilling to breach this contract and risk legal action.

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“However, I’m pleased to report that we have been contacted this morning by SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell who said that Hampden Park Limited has now reconsidered that position and have agreed to waive that legal obligation.

“This is clearly extremely welcome news. We immediately contacted Police Scotland and informed them of this development and this has enabled us to open talks to explore whether the match could be staged at an alternative venue in the timescales available.

“Whilst we are taking nothing for granted and are unable to make a definitive announcement at this early stage, if agreement can be reached between all parties involved, this would allow us to change from the original kick-off times which Police Scotland specified to ensure the matches could be staged at Hampden on the same day. The good news is that fans would have more convenient travel arrangements.

“Whilst we received firm assurances from both Hampden Park Limited and Police Scotland that they were able to host both games on the same day, today’s very welcome call is a potential game-changer.

“Everyone recognises that it would be better if we can hold these matches in separate stadia and the fact that we’re now able to explore that option is great news.

“We will now discuss with a number of parties, including the SFA, Police Scotland and the clubs involved before reaching a definitive position, which we will announce as soon as possible to enable fans to make the necessary travel arrangements.”

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