Hearts urge Scottish FA to act over poor communication from UEFA over Europa League tie



Hearts have asked the Scottish FA to intervene after blaming UEFA for the confusion caused over their Europa League tie with Infonet.

The date for the scheduled first qualifying round clash in Estonia has now changed twice, although it is the second alteration that has infuriated the Gorgie club.

After initially being informed that the first leg would take place in Tallinn on June 30, Hearts were later told on Monday on the day of the draw that they would in fact be at home that night, with the second leg being played on July 7.

robbieneilsonBut it is Tuesday’s second change that has angered Hearts and those fans that arranged travel and accommodation on the basis of the away leg taking place on July 7 after that fixture was then brought forward 24 hours to July 6.

Heart head coach Robbie Neilson has already expressed sympathy with fans affected by the confusion, saying: “It’s disappointing but UEFA make the final decision. I feel for the fans, I hope they haven’t lost a lot of money.”

Hearts, however, have now gone a step further having asked the Scottish FA to recommend that football’s European governing body review their own communication practices.

A club statement read: “The club apologises sincerely for the inconvenience caused to supporters by this misinformation.  How did this happen?

“Following the draw our representatives in Nyon were informed that there was a potential issue due to the number of Estonian teams scheduled to play in Tallinn on the same evening, and indeed in the Champions League, and that we should reconvene at 4.30pm CET to hear from the UEFA competitions committee who would decide if any games required to be moved.

“We immediately put a note on the website to advise supporters of this.

“At this reconvened meeting, we were informed by the competitions committee representatives that our drawn fixtures would be reversed; that this was a final decision, which was not open for discussion; and that the finalised list of all fixtures would be sent out to all participating clubs later that evening.

“Having been assured that all deliberations of the competitions committee had been concluded, and decisions taken were final, we released this information to our supporters.

“No further communication was received from UEFA to the club prior to them issuing their finalised list of fixtures, which showed that a further change had in fact been made, moving our away leg from Thursday 7th to Wednesday 6th.

“This change was made without any reference to either Hearts or indeed FC Infonet.

“As a result of these discussions, the club has requested that the Scottish FA make representation to UEFA, recommending that the communication process between participating clubs, their national associations and UEFA be reviewed and improved moving forward.

“The club considers its communication with supporters to be of the utmost importance.

“In this instance the club can only repeat its apologies for the inconvenience that these events have caused and trust that supporters will recognise that we did everything possible to provide timely and accurate information to our supporters, including sending representatives to Nyon.

“Further ticketing details for the away fixture in Tallinn will be provided in due course.”