Police ask to reopen talks on Betfred Cup semi-final

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Police Scotland have confirmed they are rethinking the plans for the semi-finals of the Betfred Cup and are keen to reopen talks with the SPFL.

• READ MORE: Betfred Cup semi-final arrangements deemed ‘simply idiotic’

Hampden Park is set to host both Betfred Cup semi-finals on the same day. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson

Hampden Park is set to host both Betfred Cup semi-finals on the same day. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson

The decision by the SPFL to host both semi-final matches on the same day at the same venue has come under much scrutiny.

Aberdeen are set to face Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday, 28 October, at 12pm, with Hearts v Celtic to follow at 7.45pm.

On Monday Calum Steele the Scottish Police Federation’s general secretary branded the arrangements as “simply idiotic”, while Aberdeen and Hearts have both condemned the decision using words and phrases such as “appalling” and “serious concerns”.

Hearts manager Craig Levein called the situation “madness” and said it was the “craziest thing” he has ever experienced in football.

There were calls for Murrayfield to host one of the semi-finals with both taking place on the Sunday.

The SPFL have defended their decision, noting that due to a contractual obligation with Hampden Park Limited their hands were tied. They were also assured by Police Scotland that they could manage to police the two games at the one venue.

One of the semi-finals was due to take place on 27 October but with Celtic and Rangers both in European competition on Thursday that was deemed unsuitable.

Police Scotland have confirmed that they are keen to reopen talks with the SPFL over the arrangements.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “We’re aware of issues and concerns that have been raised over the last few days about the date and venue of the League Cup semi-finals.

“As a responsible organisation and taking into account these public concerns, I think it sensible to discuss the issues raised with the SPFL and other stakeholders and I have asked the SPFL to look again at the transport plan so we can make a full public safety assessment.”