Bairns chairman Martin Ritchie urges SPFL rethink on TV deal to help fans

Club chairman Martin Ritchie.
Club chairman Martin Ritchie.

Martin Ritchie has demanded SPFL chiefs think of ways to help travelling fans this winter and said there will be no more BBC Alba games at Falkirk this season.

The Falkirk chairman’s call comes as two of the Bairns matches were nominated for coverage on the Gaelic channel next month.

Both Falkirk games around Christmas – away at Dumbarton and the home tie with Raith Rovers will be screened – but will also have kick-offs shifted to 5.30 p.m. for the live programme.

In a strongly worded email Mr Ritchie demanded the SPFL consider visiting fans and clubs when scheduling games to encourage fans to turn out.

“We believe the crowds will be affected by the change and it’s unneccessary.,” he told The Falkirk Herald later. “There will be Christmas specials dominating the TV schedules too.

“How many people will fancy returning home to Kirkcaldy on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year at 8.30 p.m?

“The same for our fans being asked to travel to Dumbarton the last Saturday before Christmas for an evening kick-off. While we welcome TV there has got to be a thought for the other fans too. People have evening engagements at this time of year”

In a strong-worded email, he appealed for more thought to be applied when scheduling TV matches and even suggested subsidising travel for his club’s two games – which predictably fell on deaf ears at Hampden.

However he did confirm clubs only require two home games to be shown so after Raith Falkirk’s quota is complete as next weekend’s home match with Hearts is also a live game and kicks off at 5.30 p.m.

Fans of the league-leading Edinburgh side will sit in the north stand and take half of the main west stand.