The Premier League "will not intervene over ticket prices in response to calls for a cap on the amounts clubs are charging," according to Martyn Ziegler of the PA. The league insists that "tickets are a matter for individual clubs," although it does encourage "stretch pricing," where a range of different prices are offered "to cater for those on lower budgets." A Premier League spokesperson said: "Ticket pricing is a matter for individual clubs, many of which work hard to fill their stadiums with offers at different points during a season that make top-flight football accessible to large numbers of fans" (PA, 1/10). The BELFAST TELEGRAPH reported the Premier League will "encourage clubs to bring in new incentives to encourage away fans." Premier League officials are aware of the need for strong away support at grounds "in order to maintain the atmosphere of the top flight, one of its strengths compared to others in Italy and to some extent Spain." Efforts will focus on "providing incentives to clubs to put away tickets on sale, and possibly subsidising coach travel" (BELFAST TELEGRAPH, 1/10).
NOT JUST AN ARSENAL ISSUE: In London, John Cross wrote increasing ticket prices in football is "not just an Arsenal issue" even though Sunday's match with Man City has "put it on the agenda." It is "expensive being a football fan." It is "getting out of hand." Most bloggers, tweeters and supporters "point to Arsenal as being one of the most expensive." However, "the great irony" is that Arsenal changed its pricing policy after consulting with the fans. The upshot is that "there is no right or wrong way of doing it." Just what is "deemed to be the fairest way -- and not everyone will think it's fair" (DAILY MIRROR, 1/10).
THE GREAT DIVIDE: ESPN's Iain Macintosh wrote, Arsenal's £62 ($99) "ticket fiasco is the story that has split English football. How annoying. If it had happened in the Bundesliga instead, it would be the story that united German football. That's the difference between us and them. They stand up for their rights. We turn on each other and then drop our trousers for the highest bidder." He continued, "This isn't a partisan issue. This is about the breakdown of the supply-and-demand argument and this should be the moment when football fans of all colours unite and lock down their wallets. But it isn't. Instead, we've seen the 21st-century response to the criticism of your football club or your football club's player, which is to disregard entirely the question of right and wrong, burst into tears and howl, 'But THEY always do it and you never criticise THEM!'" (ESPN, 1/10).