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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Liverpool fans will be spared becoming the first supporters to pay almost £100 ($166) for an away ticket in English football "after Arsenal opted to make the teams’ FA Cup tie at the Emirates Stadium a Category B fixture," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Because Liverpool is entitled to bring more fans -- up to 9,000 -- to the FA Cup game, "a Category A fixture would have meant situating some of those people in a part of the stadium" where tickets cost £93 ($154). But, having already endured a "huge backlash" against prices at the Emirates in recent times, Arsenal "decided the match would be Category B," which meant visiting supporters would pay no more than £54 ($90), many of them £35.50 ($59) (TELEGRAPH, 1/28). The BBC reported Arsenal insists its decision "has come through internal discussions only." A club statement read, "Arsenal has announced that the forthcoming FA Cup fifth-round tie against Liverpool will be classified as a B category fixture. This match would normally be designated as an A category game" (BBC, 1/28). The PA reported fans' group Spirit of Shankly "wrote to both Arsenal and Liverpool requesting more consideration was given to away supporters," in a move also backed by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust. Combined with the potential for live TV commitments to impact on the kick-off time, "there were fears fans would draw the short straw once again" (PA, 1/28).