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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 12:53 GMT
SFA prompts venue fury
Falkirk want to leave Brockville for a new stadium
Falkirk want to leave Brockville for a new stadium
Alloa Athletic and Celtic have hit out at the Scottish Football Association for forcing them to play at Falkirk's ramshackle Brockville Stadium.

Both clubs had wanted their Scottish Cup third-round tie to be switched to Fir Park, Motherwell.

Alloa's Recreation Park has a capacity of only 3,142 and local police had deemed it unsuitable to play host to the Scottish champions' massive support.

But the SFA's emergency committee decided that the match should be played at the nearest suitable ground.

It means that both sets of fans will travel to the 7,500-capacity Brockville on 5 January.

Falkirk are barred from promotion from the First Division because the stadium does not meet Scottish Premier League standards.

And Alloa manager Terry Christie told BBC Scotland: "This is bureaucracy gone mad.

Terry Christie says there is a precedent
Terry Christie says there is a precedent
"We presumed a precedent had been set in 1996, when Alloa played Celtic at Firhill in the League Cup.

"Why has it been ignored now?"

Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod echoed Christie's sentiments and launched a scathing attack on the SFA's lack of "common sense and logic".

McLeod said: "I'm extremely disappointed at the decision of the SFA to move the tie to Brockville.

"The lack of facilities, including a lack of undersoil heating, means both sets of supporters are in great risk of disappointment.

"If the game had to be moved why not move it to an all-seater stadium rather than have 6,000 people standing on terracing for two hours in early January?

"One such ground was available within an hour's drive of Alloa.

"On this occasion, common sense and logic did not appear particularly high in the SFA decision-making process."

Manager Martin O'Neill celebrates in front of Celtic's large support
Celtic will take a large support to Falkirk
An SFA spokesman said: "The committee considered all aspects of the tie and reached their decision after taking into account the opinions and advice of the police and both clubs, as well as the smooth running of the competition."

Alloa had hoped that a move to the 14,000-capacity Fir Park would provide them with much-needed extra cash.

"It is very much in the spirit of the competition that ties should be played at the home club's ground if at all possible and, if not, then it should be at the nearest suitable ground and not played at an alternative venue for purely commercial reasons," said the SFA spokesman.

"There was clear advice from Central Scotland Police that Brockville Park meets the requirements for a safe and secure venue and is therefore a suitable stadium for this tie to take place.

"We are sure it will host an attractive cup tie."

See also:

10 Dec 01 |  Scot Prem
Celtic spared Alloa trip
09 Dec 01 |  Scottish Cup
Scottish Cup - third round draw
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