The other day I sent Celtic a bunch of questions in relation to the season tickets and how the balloting system will work for games.
I got a reply back yesterday from someone inside the club who’s in a position to give us at least some of the re-assurances we need.
The first question was; I have a friend who has a season ticket in an expensive seat in the upper tier. He knows he’s not going to get that seat for games. If he’s allowed to attend games, will he be guaranteed a seat of equivalent value?
The response from Celtic was; Can’t be guaranteed, appears that seats will be allocated on a random selection basis and everyone who is successful will be allocated a seat.
The same answer applies to those who have heated seats. I explicitly asked that because not everyone buys one because they want luxury; some fans can’t sit in a cold plastic seat in outdoor conditions because of health issues.
The representative said this; Due to social distancing rules I don’t think it can be guaranteed but I’m sure efforts would be made especially if it’s for health reasons.
My next question was on whether the value of a ticket would give you a greater chance of getting a seat, a concern which I’m sure is shared by many fans who have ordinary priced tickets as well as those who do not.
The representative said; Not necessarily although no decisions have been taken I believe that it will largely be determined by how many fans we can get in.
I asked explicitly about the “bubble system” and whether it will guarantee groups stay together and get seats for the games. “Will everyone in that bubble get tickets if one person is drawn in the ballot, or is there a chance that people will be split up?” I asked.
The representative said; They will be allocated together if they register together on My Celtic Match Day.
When I asked if this will extend to people who travel to games with dependents, the representative said that it would be.
A crucial question that I asked was, “What happens if you miss the deadline to register in the ballots?”
This is a concern I shared in a previous piece, that missing the deadline on the website right now might lock you out of games all season.
This isn’t the case.
The representative said; There will be various deadlines, each match will have a cut off point.
So this makes more sense, and it means fans need to keep their eyes on the website and other social media platforms for this information.
The blogs and the fan media will certainly help with this as best we are able.
The most critical question then, of course, becomes this; if the balloting depends on registering online, what happens to that cohort amongst our support that doesn’t have easy access to the internet?
The representative came back with this; We would ask anyone who has no access to register to contact us as early as they can to make us aware. The best way would either be through the Ticket Office or the SLO.
More work for John Paul Taylor to do. He must so enjoy getting up every morning!
I was asked to inquire as to what happens if you’re one of those unlucky folk who never seems to get lucky in draws or anything. Will you still have a chance to get tickets?
The representative confirmed that the system will work on the basis of draws, and on a rotational system, which means you will eventually get a chance to attend games. Crucially, he thinks this could work on an open “all-in” ballot for those big games everyone wants to see; in other words, if you’ve already been drawn for a game you will still have a chance to get into one of the bigger matches, if the system works in the way it’s presently planned out.
I asked what happens if you’re drawn in the ballot but cannot attend the game; sadly, having registered and been granted an opportunity to go, you would then miss your turn.
I asked how away ticket allocation works and whether those fans who attend away games will have a better chance of seeing matches than those who don’t, and I asked about cup tickets as well.
The representative gave us a fulsome answer to this one, which was much appreciated.
He said; At this stage there is no indication of whether we will get to away games however home match attendance hasn’t been a factor for allocation of domestic away games previously and no indication that it would in future. In the league games tickets will be balloted in blocks, on a game-by-game basis with everyone being allocated an equal number. In terms of cup competitions, they may be different as they are not included in ST so fans would need to decide if they wanted to attend those.
The deadline for renewing season tickets is tomorrow.
Celtic has given those fans who have done so or who are considering doing so some clarity, at least, on how the balloting will work, provided that you are registered online with My Match Day before that deadline expires next week.
Thank you to the Celtic Park representative who got back to me on this.