Fans the ‘most dedicated in Europe’

Falkirk fans from the 'Wee Dublin End' seen here, or covered seating in the main stand. Picture Michael Gillen.
Falkirk fans from the 'Wee Dublin End' seen here, or covered seating in the main stand. Picture Michael Gillen.

You’d need to be dedicated to stand in pouring rain on an open terrace a stone’s throw from the River Clyde on a January afternoon.

But that’s what Falkirk fans did on Saturday and proved the report findings issued a few days later – that Scottish football supporters are the most dedicated in Europe.

Craig Sibbald scored the winner. Picture Michael Gillen.

Craig Sibbald scored the winner. Picture Michael Gillen.

The report was published on Monday by The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and compares attendance figures across major domestic championships run by the EPFL from 2010/11 to 2016/17.

The findings show that the SPFL ranks first in terms of average attendance expressed as a percentage of a country’s population, with 0.21% of Scots attending games compared to Norway and Switzerland (both 0.14%), the English Premier League (0.07%) and the Bundesliga in Germany (0.05%).

The Ladbrokes Premiership was also the tenth-best attended division in Europe over that seven-year period, with an average crowd of 11,436. That places it higher than the average top-tier attendances of Switzerland, Portugal, Turkey, Belgium, Poland, Ukraine, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Greece, all countries with larger populations than Scotland.

SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “Football remains Scotland’s national sport and it is hugely encouraging to see this report confirm that SPFL fans are the most devoted in Europe. It is further sign that our game is in good health and we hope that trend will continue in the years ahead.”

The Falkirk fans’ dedication was rewarded with a 1-0 win at Cappielow.