ATAC – SFA Meeting 3rd October 2011

Association of Tartan Army Clubs

Notes from meeting – ATAC & SSC/SFA
Thursday 29 September 2011 at 3.30.p.m. Hampden, Glasgow

Present :-

Jim Brown, West of Scotland Tartan Army
Scott Pilmer, Hebrides Bar Edinburgh Tartan Army
Colin Banks, Marketing Manager SFA
Alison Jack, Customer Services Manager SSC
Derek Kirkwood, Security Officer SFA

The meeting opened with general greetings.

1. ATAC sought confirmation of the kick off time for the away match in Spain. As a number of members had expressed concern that this may change or at least should be questioned, due to the lateness of the kick off in Lithuania recognising that final matches should kick off at the same time. Colin Banks made a couple of telephone calls and confirmed that the game in Alicante will kick off at 8.45.p.m. whilst the match in Lithuania would start at the equivalent local time.

2. Are there any specific security arrangements and / or advice for both of the forthcoming away matches? Liechtenstein – Derek Kirkwood stated that he was aware of approximately 24 coaches transporting Scottish fans and of other transport methods, coming in from Germany, Switzerland and Italy. DK further advised that as cars and buses come off the motorway at the roundabout they will be directed to a car/coach park area which has ample space. He stated that both the parking area and ground is approx 15/20 minute walk from Vaduz Centre. Those present reviewed a number of photographs, which had been taken by Alison Jack, they showed the ground and the Scottish sections (sectors 2 & 3). ATAC expressed concern at the very narrow entrance through which Scottish fans would have to enter the stadium. DK shared this concern and stressed that fans should make their way to the ground as early as possible to avoid any build up of fans at the entranceway. DK stated that he is aware that he makes this request for all games but it is clear that to ensure everyone makes kick off and there are no safety issues fans should get to the ground early. ATAC agreed that this was sensible and suggested that a message and photographs should be emailed to those fans attending the game. CB and AJ agreed to action this, stating that the photos had the added benefit of showing the ticket booths to be used by those SSC members required to collect tickets.

Consular staff would be on hand on match day. ATAC stated they may be busier than usual due to the number of supporters who will be carrying their passports having travelled to the match on the day through various border posts, making loss of passport a bigger worry than normal.

DK expressed concerns re the potential for jeering of the opposition national anthem as witnessed at Hampden, which would be picked up and reported by the match delegate. ATAC stated that they were aware of various messages circulating to show respect and added that a message from the SFA or appropriate person may get the message over.

Spain – DK advised that roads around the stadium would be closed to form a security cordon within which ticket holding fans could move around freely. DK also stated that he was speaking with the Spanish police match officials seeking an additional cordon around gates 10-12 which is the official SSC area. DK is also aware that Scottish supporters may obtain tickets for the home areas he does not know how the Spaniards will react to this.

DK advised that the stadium is a 30 – 45 minute walk from the seafront/centre of Alicante

It was agreed that there is the potential for several thousand Scots fans to be in the home sectors, assisted by online ticket purchasing and the large ex-pat community on the Alicante area.

ATAC agreed to forward the timings of the Fans Embassy in Alicante to DK

3. The matter of ‘seedings’ was raised by ATAC advising that members had raised complaints re the seedings for the play off’s i.e. countries had been seeded for the group stages yet seedings would again come into play for the play off’s. ATAC stated that they knew it was in the competition rules but would like to know if the SFA or indeed any participating country had objected to this, as it strikes our members that everything is being done to save the’ big TV countries’. CB acknowledged the point and stated that it was valid. The SFA had considered the issue and had taken the view that they would tackle the bigger issue which was to raise the number of countries which could participate in tournament finals thus extending the opportunity of qualification that way. This was successful.

4. Ticket pick up’s and collections are always a hot topic for ATAC. What is the pick up ratio for the games coming up and can you advise of the cancellation and fail to collect numbers for games this year. Alison Jack advised that the requested to collect ratios for both of the away games coming up is 10%. For the match in Dublin in February the SSC had received approx. 200 cancellations after the request to collect had been issued and there were a further 120 ‘no shows’ whilst it was recognised that there were a number of genuine reasons the majority had been written to and this had been noted as ‘yellow cards’. Dublin in May resulted in single figure no shows and low volume cancellations, it was also acknowledged that this was at a time of travel disruption. The Brazil game at the Emirates was also a low volume cancellation and no show. Both the SSC and ATAC agreed that the issue would continue to be monitored with full collections occurring when it was felt appropriate.

5. ATAC requested consistency regarding the distribution of car and coach park passes for Hampden stating that member Clubs had reported receiving passes for some matches but not others causing difficulties with planning. AJ stated that she will take this up with Hampden and report back.

6. ATAC requested that the ticketing system be reviewed for home matches, as the current system does not allow multiple purchase of tickets for differing sections of the stadium. CB advised that there will be new ticketing system in 2012 with a different partner with greater functionality he will check whether this capability will be available.

7. A number of complaints had been received by ATAC following the Denmark home game re Scotrail and the lack of trains and capacity after the game, what is your communications with the transport companies. CB acknowledged that there had been issues and they had also received comments. CB went onto advise that one of their ‘themes’ in 2012 is travel specifically for home events and have entered into discussions with an number of parties as to how this can be improved. Those discussions are wide ranging covering matters such as travel to and from the ground, fanzones in the city centre and tourist authorities.

8. What is the position with the World Cup fixture meeting and friendly matches?
CB advised that the WC fixture meeting will take place in Brussels in the third week of November following the Euro play off matches. The SFA are also looking to work on a two year plan for qualifying games home and away, friendly and play off options. Whilst everyone is of course hopeful of a Euro play off spot we are currently working on potential contingencies with an away match on one of the November dates 11/12 or 15. Discussions are underway but nothing of course can be confirmed as we all want a play off place. We are also looking at an away friendly for the February date, this is all part of the two year plan.

9. ATAC provided feedback on the catering at Hampden stating that a member club had written advising that in their view it had gotten worse, with poor service, long waits and running out of stock. They also wanted to know what had happened to the hawker suggesting from a previous meeting. CB thanked the member club for the feedback and would share this with the Hampden catering team and report back re the hawkers.

10. A member club had written to ATAC asking why replays were no longer being shown on the big screens. DK advised that the police had decided that there should be no replays. Jim Brown stated he could understand that for contentious incidents but not for all. DK agreed stating that they had placed a refereeing supervisor in the control box to assist in deciding what could be shown, but this was also stopped by police. The responsibility has been passed from the police to Hampden limited so it’s back up for discussion. All present agreed that replays of goals etc enhanced the fans experience and this should be deals with promptly

11. An ATAC member club sought clarification on the Steven Fletcher issue stating that Scotland can ill afford not to have all players available CB stated that was a matter for the Team manager and had been widely reported on.

Meeting closed at 5.15.p.m.

Notes – Jim Brown, Chairman, West of Scotland Tartan Army.