Fans Chief Warns Football Authorities To 'Wake Up' Over Rising Ticket Prices
Football Supporters Federation Chair Malcolm Clarke has "urged the game's authorities to wake up to the growing resentment at massively inflated ticket prices or risk huge numbers of fans turning their backs on the game," according to Simon Stone of the PA. Man City sent back more than 900 tickets for Sunday's game at Arsenal after supporters "elected not to pay" £62 ($99) to attend. Man City's "increased status within the English game" means they have joined ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham as clubs who "routinely get charged the highest prices for tickets." Clarke believes there is "no justification for such pricing structures," especially since clubs are "set to pocket their share of the spoils" from mega TV deals that have topped the £4B ($6B) barrier (PA, 1/9). In London, Andy James reported Arsenal fans have had to pay up to £126 ($201) for Sunday's match against Man City. By contrast, Barcelona is charging just £7.30 ($11.70) for Thursday's cup tie against Primera B side Córdoba. Arsenal is "not the only club to have been criticised for exorbitantly-priced tickets," but it was rated as "English football's most-expensive day out by a BBC survey in October" (DAILY MAIL, 1/9).
GOOD FOR THE GAME? In London, Giuseppe Muro reported the game, to be televised live on Sky Sports, is classed as Category A by the club and therefore "carries the highest price for Arsenal’s Premier League games." Man City has "returned enough for Arsenal to put a whole block of the Clock End back on sale to home supporters," but the club expected the game to sell out. An Arsenal Supporters' Trust spokesperson said: "I can understand why Manchester City fans have stayed away this weekend. It is a reflection of the way the game is going. Clubs need to think carefully about their pricing structure for away fans because I don’t think it is good for the game when there are less away fans because the atmosphere will suffer" (EVENING STANDARD, 1/9).
FANS LOSE OUT: In London, Paul Wilson wrote on the GUARDIAN's The Sport Blog,"One thing is clear: clubs are concerned only about selling tickets. They don't really mind who buys them and, given the extra stewarding costs and segregation issues that come with away supporters, it would not be an enormous surprise to see clubs pitching the price of away seats sky high to keep the numbers of travelling fans as low as possible. Some would argue they are already doing that." He added, "The point of all this is not only to show that away fans often get a raw deal but that clubs can pretty much treat them how they wish. There are no hard and fast rules and perhaps there should be" (GUARDIAN, 1/9).