leann dempster image The Scotsman - SNS

Hibs have announced plans to introduce an away season ticket for fans who travel to away games.

Chief Executive Leeann Dempster issued a statement on the club website outlining the proposed changes.

“As you may know, the Club has been reviewing the Loyalty Points system for a number of months.

“This has taken a little longer than we would have liked as a result of other issues that we had to prioritise, but we needed to take enough time to review and consider a range of opinion from supporters, both those in the working group on loyalty points and others who offered their feedback. All of the opinions and feedback have been well rehearsed and debated from each perspective  – and with that I would like to thank all supporters who have contributed to the discussion and been involved in our Working Together forums. It now requires a decision.

“The Club has to make decisions we believe in, but also to reflect that sometimes we get it wrong or that our decisions and actions have unexpected consequences.

“I think the decision to create a loyalty points scheme was well intended, but it is one that has failed on more levels than it’s been successful on.  But we also need to recognise that supporters who travel to away matches play a vital role in supporting the team, and that getting access to away tickets can be stressful for those who travel week in week out.

“We’ve investigated whether it is possible to achieve the desired outcomes which for me are as straightforward as this:

– eliminate the negativity around loyalty points while building the value of season tickets

– being consistent and supportive of those who want to travel

“I believe we have come up with a solution that will do both, so it is my decision now to stop the loyalty points programme and to make available to those who may want it  an ‘Away Season Ticket’ which would guarantee a ticket to those who travel week in, week out, and who want to commit to every away league game.

“We will limit the number of these available based on the historic number of fans who travel to every away match whilst maintaining the availability of away tickets for those home season ticket holders who may also want to travel.

“The detail needs to be finalised but, effectively, if you were to sign up for an ‘Away Season Ticket’ you would be guaranteed a ticket and your payment would automatically be taken from a debit or credit card.  This would be an automated process with no manual element other than the early set up and you would be required to sign up for all away league fixtures.  Once we have finalised these details we will provide a further update to inform everyone how it will work.

“This model already operates in other Clubs in Scotland and England and I feel that we have now struck a balance of looking after and supporting those who want to travel all the time and also home season ticket holders who also want access to some away matches.

“It is important to stress that this relates to games where we will receive tickets to sell.  All things being equal we think that will be every match, but there is a slight possibility that a club may decide to run a simple pay at the gate operation rather than give tickets to Hibernian to sell. This would mean that the away season ticket would not apply.  Unlikely but possible, so worth noting.

“Given our league opponents this year it is our estimation that the only real pressure on tickets will probably be Dumbarton and Falkirk, and this is manageable.

“On domestic Cup matches we will soon be announcing a replacement for the Cup Top up scheme, and this does not form part of what I have outlined above.

“This has been a long and at times stressful discussion but given the learning of the past two seasons and the challenges we’ve seen, I believe we have now come up with a solution that will work.

“As with the introduction of loyalty points, the decision is based on what we believe to be correct, but we will continue to look at ways to improve our ticketing schemes going forward.”