Rangers league match at Elgin on Sunday has been cancelled on police advice after it emerged that too many tickets had been sold.
Rangers were furious over the fiasco. An apology was made to the Ibrox club after Elgin accepted too many tickets had been printed and sold for the game, but 1,800 Rangers supporters were still out-of-pocket having committed to travel arrangements and hotel bookings. Rangers were due to travel north today.
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Grampian Police insisted the game had to be postponed after learning that too many tickets had been sold by the Moray club.
Police decided the game could not go ahead because of the risk that too many supporters would turn up for the noon kick-off. The match was scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN.
It is believed that several hundred extra tickets had been sold for the Borough Briggs ground. It has a capacity of 4500 and Rangers’ allocation of 1800 had also sold-out. Police will investigate why extra tickets were distributed.
The Scottish Football League said it would also launch an investigation into the matter, which was discovered only yesterday afternoon.
“Following today’s pre-ops meeting for the match, it has come to light that there has been a substantial over-sale of tickets for the fixture. Elgin City Football Club could not confirm the exact number of tickets which have been sold for this match.
“Therefore, on the grounds of public safety and in close consultation with all parties, this match has now been postponed. Further information regarding tickets which have been sold will be provided as quickly as possible. Elgin City would like to apologise sincerely for this disappointing outcome. The SFL will conduct a full investigation into the circumstances."
Rangers issued a statement in which manager Ally McCoist expressed sympathy for the supporters who had intended to travel. “Due to circumstances completely outwith Rangers Football Club's control, the match against Elgin City at Borough Briggs on Sunday, November 25 has been called off on safety grounds.
“We are disappointed the match has been called off at such short notice and I know Elgin are as well. This was due to circumstances outwith our control but we were informed a short time ago that there was no way the match could go ahead on safety grounds.
“I am sure this is a huge disappointment to our supporters who have purchased match tickets and arranged travel in good faith. Elgin City have apologised to the club and we accept their apology but I feel for our fans.”
Ross Jack, the Elgin City manager said the development was “unbelievable” news. An alternative date for the match will be announced later.
John Macmillan, general secretary of the Rangers Supporters Association, said: “Elgin are not used to crowds like this but, even so, it seems like a major oversight. It is very, very disappointing.
"I don’t like to be too critical of the smaller clubs and so far in Division Three it has worked out well, but we are looking here at a serious error on Elgin’s part.
"There has to be an inquiry into what’s happened here. It’s also now going to mean a midweek game up there for our fans which is a long trek, especially in winter.”
Fans also took to Twitter to express their disappointment at the cancellation.
The Blueprint tweeted: "Disappointing as this is, Rangers fans know that safety is paramount. Elgin have apologised for their mistake so we accept it and move on"
Ross Meechan tweeted: "Can't believe Rangers game with Elgin has been called off. Because Elgin have sold to many tickets."
Andrew Slorance tweeted: "Total farce - how can a club sell too many tickets?"