Hibs 'disappointed' as Scottish Government limit fan numbers for Arsenal friendly
Hibs have expressed disappointment after their bid to increase capacity for the upcoming friendly against Arsenal was rejected by the Scottish Government.
Mikel Arteta's Europa League semi-finalists are due to visit Easter Road on Tuesday, July 13 and Hibs were hopeful of hosting around 6000 supporters after submitting an application through City of Edinburgh Council that showed they could safely host that number while adhering to 2-metre social distancing guidelines.
However, those plans have been kiboshed with Holyrood officials insisting on a 2000 limit, although Hibs remain hopeful of hosting nearer 10,000 for the opening Europa Conference League tie on July 22, providing Edinburgh moves to Level 0 as proposed on July 19.
A Hibs statement read: “The club today received confirmation from the City of Edinburgh Council that capacity for our friendly match against Arsenal on July (13) will be limited to 2000 home fans only due to national public health guidance.
“The club had pushed hard to admit around 6000 supporters with thorough protocols in place to ensure spectator safety worked through with the local authority, but Scottish Government guidance won’t allow for these numbers.
“The club remains optimistic that we will have a larger capacity for our first competitive match on July 22, but much will depend on the First Minister’s announcement on July 13 regarding the proposed move to Level 0 and the removal of almost all current restrictions.”
Greg McEwan, Hibs interim chief executive, added: “We are disappointed that the numbers are considerably lower than we asked for and that we had planned for, but we have to respect the guidance and restrictions imposed by the Scottish Government.
“We remain optimistic that the direction of travel remains positive, and that we will see much larger numbers of supporters returning to Easter Road by the time our competition action kicks off.”
The Arsenal tickets go on sale online tomorrow to 2021/22 season ticket holders only on a first come, first-served basis, with admission set at a pricey £26 for adults and £16 for concessions, which the club insist is due to the costs associated with opening the stadium for restricted numbers. Seats will be available in pods of one, two or three.
Supporters can buy tickets online via www.hibernianfc.co.uk or by calling Hibs ticket office on 07783 626185 or 07548 215060.