HEARTS owner Ann Budge last night said the Betfred Cup semi-final decision could be “a disaster waiting to happen.”
And, as the fixture scheduling row rumbled on, she pledged to keep pushing the SPFL to abandon their controversial plan to play both showpieces at Hampden on Sunday, October 28.
“I’m still frustrated and dismayed at what we seem to be facing,” she said.
“We’ve spoken almost tirelessly for the last 48 hours to try to come up with the alternative, and it’s proving to be very, very difficult.
“At the moment, I have been told that they have done all they can, and that we are going to have to stick with it as it is.
“But everybody must recognise that it’s almost a disaster waiting to happen.
“It’s been well publicised, and people have been on the news and asked their views. And they are right.
“There are going to be four large clubs (Hearts, Aberdeen, Celtic and Rangers) all converging at the same time, all wanting to do the same thing.
“They’ll be arriving early to go for a pint, they will be going back to the pubs after the first game.
“It really is a big problem.
“I guess from the SPFL perspective, all they can do is say to Police Scotland : ‘Are you happy you can handle this?’. And Police Scotland have apparently said yes.
“But clearly, no one believes this is a good solution.
“I don’t think the SPFL believe it’s a good solution. I think, genuinely, they feel that, for whatever reason, their hands are tied and they can’t come up with an alternative.”
Budge was at the meeting on Thursday at which the decision was reached.
But she rejected emphatically the League’s assertion that staging the kick-offs at noon and 7.45pm suited the clubs.
“The four clubs were there, Hampden Park were represented and, of course, the SPFL,” she said.
“When we were told what was being proposed, you could have knocked me down with a feather.
“It certainly doesn’t suit Hearts or Aberdeen, there’s no question about that.
“And I did ask the question of the other clubs at the meeting. I said: ‘Can I just be clear, does anyone think this is a good solution?’.
“All of the four clubs agreed that it wasn’t. The Glasgow clubs were thinking from a fans’ perspective and anticipating difficulties for some of their support that come from far and wide.
“I just hope that we can continue to talk about the scheduling because otherwise we all know it’s hugely risky for Scottish football.
“I will continue to press to say: ‘Please, let’s keep looking and come up with another alternative’.
“I will just keep pushing.”
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