As the cost of living crisis bites hard, it's clear there are no easy solutions for football.

Last month, a survey from the Scottish Football Supporters' Association revealed that 92 per cent of fans were in favour of a standardised cap on away ticket prices, with 74 per cent feeling that clubs were not listening to them on the issue. Over half admitted finding the decision to renew their season ticket for this season as 'tough' or 'very tough', with 50 per cent saying that rising costs were likely to affect how many matches they would attend over the campaign.

The average season ticket in the Premiership will set you back around £350, and that's if you're taking the cheapest option, while the average away ticket price is around £25, which quickly mounts up as the weeks go by. But even if you do give up going to the game on a Saturday, the expenses don't stop there. To have all of Scottish football covered, including European games and the national team, these days requires no fewer than three subscriptions - Sky, BT Sport and Viaplay, with the latter taking over rights to international matches previously held by the former. The cheapest way to watch all three requires you part with £68 per month, which is over £800 a year. Considering the average take home pay in Scotland is around £1745, again it's no small outlay. You certainly do not need me to issue a reminder on the direction of travel with energy bills, food prices and everything else, but the point is football continues to be an increasingly expensive luxury at a time when fans can least afford it.

It's perhaps why the concept of a cap on away tickets, at least, has such widespread backing. It's not a new idea, either. The Twenty's Plenty campaign was first implemented by fans in England, encouraging clubs to cap away ticket prices at £20, before it was later adopted in Scotland. Earlier this season, a group of St Johnstone fans cited the initiative as they chose to boycott their side's trip to Ibrox, a sign that supporters are prepared to vote with their feet. Admittedly, it's not a campaign that has yet gathered significant momentum, which suggests why so many punters feel clubs aren't listening to them. But, as revealed in our special report on away days earlier this week, the SFSA plan to press home the issue with SPFL chief-executive Neil Doncaster in a bid to make some headway.

The very obvious issue, however, is just how likely are clubs to entertain the idea of a price cap when their own costs continue to spiral? It doesn't currently look like becoming a reality, but the fact that moving kick-off times to 1pm to save them from turning on the floodlights has even been discussed is rather grimly indicative of where we're at. A recent survey of 40 EFL clubs in England found that almost all of them harbouring serious concerns about how they would cope with the cost of living crisis. It feels fairly safe to assume there's a similar level of fear north of the border. Faced with such stark financial uncertainty, the prospect of introducing a price cap on tickets would feel like an almighty gamble in boardrooms up and down the country, and some might well argue there's no point in making admission cheaper if there ends up no longer being a club to support.

Doing nothing, though, could be just as dangerous. As was made abundantly clear during the Covid-19 pandemic, Scottish football is vastly reliant on matchday revenue. If, as the SFSA survey suggests they could, fans begin to stay away in the build-up to Christmas and in the financial hangover of January, clubs would certainly begin to notice when the gate receipts come in. Lower ticket prices doesn't necessarily have to mean less revenue. If a cap encourages more fans to make the journey because they feel attending is now more affordable, then balance sheets may just benefit in the long run. In October, Hibs trialled a £10 entry fee for adults and £5 for concessions in a bid to sell out Easter Road for a Friday night fixture against St Johnstone, which proved a success. Going as low as a tenner probably isn't sustainable long term, but the experiment did offer evidence to support the theory that fans will respond to price incentives.

The other, fairly significant, barrier to change is we know how tricky it can be to get Scottish clubs to agree on anything. You'll remember, or, like me, you've attempted to block out this entire period from your memory, just how farcical things got in 2020 as Covid sent the game into lockdown and a civil war erupted over what should be done with the season. As recently as September, the SPFL was forced to rip up its own rulebook in order to get the new Sky TV deal over the line, and it still required support from 11 of 12 top-flight teams. So, assuming an issue such as price capping even gets to the voting stage, overwhelming backing is needed to push it through. In the current climate, there's probably a touch of naivety in believing this is an idea that would not be met with at least some pushback which, even if limited, would still knock the entire thing down.

92 per cent of supporters may well support the notion of limiting prices, but there's an inescapable feeling that it's something that may just struggle to get off the ground without some form of sustained action, because clubs won't deviate from the status quo unless they're forced to.