Old Firm Monday call
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Sat 09 Jun 12 @ 22:10
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association on Thursday 24 March jointly called for as many future Old Firm games as possible to be played on Monday nights.
The Chamber and the SLTA say that scheduling Rangers-Celtic matches away from weekends would reduce negative impact on the Glasgow city centre retail and restaurant trade, and limit the time fans have for drinking after the game.
Glasgow Chamber chief executive Stuart Patrick said: "The Old Firm match at the weekend thankfully passed without serious incident on or off the pitch, but it's clear that the fall-out from the previous so-called "shame game" will have repercussions far beyond the field of play, with commitment from the First Minister, the police and others to take strong action.
"There has been talk around the issue of kick-off times, and following discussions with our colleagues in the Licensed Trade Association, we have come to the conclusion that Monday evenings would be best for all.
SLTA chief executive Paul Waterson agreed: "More matches have to be played on midweek evenings, preferably Mondays - traditionally the quietest night of the week in the city centre. Where games have to be at weekends, for example Cup Finals, the kick-off time should always be 3pm. Early kick offs have simply not worked."
Both organisations also urged the Scottish Government to show "caution" on the much-discussed limiting of access to alcohol before and after matches.
Stuart Patrick said: "We recognise events such as those that took place at and around the Scottish Cup replay risk damaging Glasgow's image for investment, and that the city centre retail and restaurant trade loses business on weekend matchdays. However any action taken on alcohol limitation must be proportionate. It's important that Glasgow's tourism offering isn't adversely affected by visitors being unable to have a refreshment simply because their stay happens to coincide with a Rangers-Celtic match.
Paul Waterson said: "Cutting the opening hours of bars would simply lead to fans drinking more at home. The problem is the vast majority of fans who are going to abuse alcohol do so at home anyway. We have become a nation of take-home drinkers."