Rangers, Dundee Utd and Scottish Cup tickets: Your questions answered

Rangers fans with "sink us and we'll sink you" banner.
Rangers will not request tickets for their fans for the tie at Tannadice.SNS Group

Rangers have sparked controversy by stating that they will not take tickets from Dundee United for their Scottish Cup tie.

Rangers chief executive Charles Green has said that the history between the clubs, and security concenrs are behind the decision, which has the backing of supporters groups.

We've looked at some of the questions that have arisen from the controversial decision.

Why have Rangers taken this step?

Rangers were denied re-entry to the SPL in the summer after the asset sale that saw Charles Green’s consortium take control of the club. This is the first time Rangers have been drawn to play away against SPL opposition since the summer.

Rangers supporters groups had initially called on fans to boycott the game. The Rangers Supporters Assembly has urged a “full boycott” of the match in response to United’s part in denying the club SPL entry and also because of a ticketing controversy in 2009.

Charles Green issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying the club would not be taking up their allocation of tickets for the game. He said that the decision was a unanimous one by the board, senior management and staff at Ibrox.

“Everyone at this club is dismayed at the actions of certain SPL clubs, which were actively engaged in trying to harm Rangers when we were in a perilous situation and we are acutely aware of their attitude to us,” he added.

Don’t they have to take tickets?

The Scottish FA competition rules state that Rangers have a right to a minimum number of tickets but don’t specify an obligation to purchase any.

Rule 41 states: “the visiting club shall have the right to claim admissions up to 20% of the spectator capacity of the ground” and says that if any of the allocation is not sold then it should be returned to the host club 24 hours before kick-off.

Will Rangers make money from the game?

Again, the Scottish Cup rules specify that revenue from the game should be split between the participating teams in each tie.

Rule 46 lays out the procedure for teams in the Fifth Round as:

(1) The host club shall be entitled to make a deduction of 20% from the gross receipts.

(2) When half of the receipts remaining exceed the guarantee, the said receipts shall be divided, equally, between the clubs.

(3) When half of the receipts remaining do not exceed the guarantee, the visiting club shall only receive the guarantee.

The guarantee mentioned is a payment of up to £400 that should be made from the host to the visitors.

So Rangers would expect to receive the share of the takings, after expenses.

In practice, the amount is more likely to be around a third of the day’s ticket receipts.

Discussing the issue on Twitter, Scott Struthers from Hamilton Academical said that with costs varying for the home team, in his experience the visiting team receives between 29% and 35%.

How much are they likely to make?

It’s hard to predict. The size of the crowd isn’t known and expenses, such as policing, all need to be factored in.

Could Dundee United just charge pennies to get in?

No. Rule 40 sets a minimum price of £8 per ticket. Any pricing over and above that has to be agreed between Dundee united and Rangers. If the clubs can’t reach agreement, the Scottish FA would apply the price for a regular match at Tannadice. It isn’t clear whether that regular pricing would be based on last year’s Scottish Cup ties or from this season’s Scottish Premier League games.

In any case, limiting the amount of revenue would not help United. Failing to bring in enough to cover costs would leave them out of pocket. Covering costs and making a profit means a fair split between teams so ever pound denied to Rangers would also be denied to Dundee United.

Could United, for example, let season ticket holders in for free?

Dundee United could allow their season ticket holders in for free but would have to contribute to the receipts as if those spectators had paid in on the day at the same price. It would leave the SPL side out of pocket.

Could the Scottish FA change the rules?

Rule 47 (a) allows for temporary changes to the rules. However, 47 (b) says any permanent changes have to be approved at the Scottish FA AGM.

It would be surprising if 47(a) was invoked to overturn any of the other applicable rules, given that they cover all matches in the competition.

Can Dundee United withhold the cash?

No, that would breach Cup rules. The share of receipts has to be paid to Rangers or the United would face sanctions.

Are there any other rules that could apply? What about bringing the game into disrepute or not acting in the best interests of football?

There are broader Scottish FA rules about the conduct of clubs and officials. However, any charges would likely be met with a vigorous defence from Rangers who would argue that they have acted within the stated cup competition rules.

The Ibrox club could also argue that given the strong feelings associated with the match and the security concerns that Rangers highlighted in their statement, they are acting in the best interests of football by reducing the likelihood of any flashpoints.

What happens if it goes to a replay?

The teams would meet at Ibrox with all the above still applying. United could take an allocation or not and would still be entitled to their share of the income.

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