Season tickets for the 2021-22 League One campaign costing up to £320 went on sale this week accompanied by a warning that no recompense would be paid out if restrictions on crowd sizes were to mean that not all those paying up would be allowed into the Falkirk Stadium on matchdays.
That sparked an angry reaction among supporters disgruntled about the prospect of not being offered part of their money back if they ended up not being allowed to sit on seats they’d already paid for and had to settle for a live-stream instead or even nothing at all in the case of some cup games.
Scores took to the club and the Herald’s social media sites to voice their anger, with many also asking for refunds for games they missed out on last season, that latter plea having been heeded.
That backlash has prompted a response from bosses at the Bairns but no rethink as they say offering refunds next time round would prevent them bankrolling their latest bid for promotion to the Championship.
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As things stand, only 1,000 fans at a time would be allowed into the 8,000-capacity stadium to maintain social-distancing requirements, though that could double if Covid-19 cases fall and Falkirk is put into a lower tier by the Scottish Government.
Hopes remain high that if the current vaccination programme continues apace, caps on crowd sizes will be scrapped by the end of the summer, but there is still much uncertainty about when that might happen, leaving supporters worried about possibly paying out money for nothing for at least part of the season.
Explaining their stance on refunds, a club spokesperson said: “Season ticket revenue is the lifeblood of almost every club in Scotland and Falkirk is no different.
“It is our single largest source of income.
“In the current circumstances, it also presents us with our biggest headache.
“Current Covid restrictions mean that we can have up to 1,000 fans in the stadium while we are in level one and up to 2,000 if we move to level 0.
“This likely means that unless you are a season ticket holder for the coming season, it will be impossible to see our home games live.
“We hope this situation changes during the coming season, but we are not in control of those decisions.
“We are already committed to providing Paul Sheerin with a playing squad budget that we believe is the largest in the league and have recently restarted our youth development programme.
“If we reduce season ticket prices or offer cash refunds, we are simply reducing the amount of money that we can spend and will then be forced to make very difficult decisions about the playing squad and youth development, something no one wants us to do.
“The club need you at this time.
“We appreciate that this is a very difficult time for everyone and that choices need to be made about how money is spent.
“We also recognise that not everyone has the ability to spend money on a season ticket.
“We also hope that you understand how vital season ticket revenue is for the success of the club.”