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Volume 7 No. 109

Franchises

Tottenham revealed the prices for season tickets at its under-construction new stadium, and "they will become the most expensive in Britain," according to Matthew Smith of the London DAILY MAIL. The club moved out of its White Hart Lane home at the end of the '16-17 season "in order to construct a new 62,000-seat arena on the site." On Monday, the club revealed how much the season tickets will cost, including in the south stand, which will be a single tier for 17,500 fans -- "the largest of its type in Europe." The cheapest season ticket anywhere in the stadium will cost £795 ($1,105) for adults and £397.50 ($552.63) for kids. Prices of season tickets range between £795 and £2,200 ($3,060). The £2,200 tickets give access to the 1882 plus scheme, "which gives fans complimentary food and drink and access to an exclusive bar." In the south stand, the cheapest adult season tickets are £875 ($1,216), while the most expensive are £1,995 ($2,773), "as they are everywhere in the ground." The club will also "launch a recruitment drive for ex-military servicemen and women to become stewards, security staff and hosts" at the new stadium when it opens. Tottenham hopes to fill 50 full-time and part-time jobs with army veterans, making it the "largest recruitment scheme of its kind across the division." Successful candidates "will go through the appropriate training in time to start their new role" when Tottenham hosts its first Premier League fixture in the early weeks of next season (DAILY MAIL, 3/12).

Mark Noble threw a pitch invader to the ground during Saturday's EPL match at London Stadium.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Premier League side West Ham United's owners "will be protected by a fortified London Stadium and a police presence to help to prevent a repeat of the scenes that marred Saturday's 3-0 defeat by Burnley," according to Gary Jacob of the LONDON TIMES. With the club scheduled to meet its stadium partners on Monday, "building work will take place to prevent home supporters from being able to congregate in front of the directors' box to vent their anger and throw missiles," as they did over the weekend. West Ham co-Owner David Sullivan "was struck by a coin but his glasses stopped it from hitting his eye." He called an emergency meeting immediately after the game. Sullivan's fellow co-Owner, David Gold, "was said to have been shaken and the pair left the ground nearly three hours after the game ended" (LONDON TIMES, 3/12). In London, Jacob Steinberg reported West Ham is "prepared to pay for a huge police presence inside the London Stadium." The club, which is "facing heavy punishment" from the FA, is "unhappy with the failure of stewards to deal with the disturbances" and insisted that the stadium operator, LS185, place police officers inside the ground for the remaining five home matches of the season. London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the trouble on Monday and called for an investigation. The club is "not responsible for footing the police bill" under the terms of its agreement with the London Legacy Development Corporation, which pays it in full, "but the FA will hold West Ham responsible for what took place." Board members have been "shaken by the protests" and "indicated a willingness to make a financial contribution to bolster the security arrangements" (GUARDIAN, 3/12). Also in London, Jason Burt reported if agreed, West Ham would expect the stewarding budget to be transferred to the club and would then add to that with its own funds. However, it also believes "a far more visible policing presence inside the stadium would also calm down supporters and will ask why that has not happened before now." Despite the abuse, Sullivan and Gold will continue to attend home matches. Sullivan said on Saturday that he felt "very badly let down" by the stadium operator, and there is "particular concern over the ease with which fans were allowed to run on to the pitch." Meanwhile, West Ham captain Mark Noble said that he "could not see a way in which the anger from the fans" toward the club's owners, much of which centers around the move from Upton Park to the London Stadium, "would dissipate." Noble: "This is our stadium now. There is nothing we can do about it. It seems to me that there is so much anger out there that it is not going to go away" (TELEGRAPH, 3/12).

Wolverhampton Wanderers Chair Jeff Shi
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

League Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers Chair Jeff Shi said that complaints from Aston Villa and Leeds United are "laughable," according to Alex Dicken of the BRISTOL POST. The "rivals have voiced their concerns" to the English Football League over Wolves' relationship with "super agent" Jorge Mendes. Aston Villa and Leeds United "want to know how Wolves are affording to pay the likes of Diogo Jota, Ruben Neves and Ivan Cavaleiro’s wages" while staying within the constraints of Financial Fair Play. Shi insisted that Wolves "are doing nothing wrong" and claimed the club's rivals are trying to destabilize the league leader. He said, "I’m the chairman of a club so I can understand the pressure. We’re the guys facing pressure from fans and the league and I can understand releasing pressure on Twitter. On the other hand I think frankly it’s laughable, because they know nothing about us. I know everything about us and our club and what we’re doing" (BRISTOL POST, 3/12). The BBC's Roan, Pope & Skelton reported Leeds United Owner Andrea Radrizzani wrote to the FA, Premier League and EFL to "ask for clarification" on the link between Wolverhampton and Mendes. A subsidiary of Wolverhampton owner Fosun has a share in Mendes' agency and "several of his clients are at Molineux." Radrizzani said, "I want to understand the rules so I can act like them. If it's possible, I would do the same as it's been proven to be successful for the team. If not, I will do as I did in the past, which I'm happy with too" (BBC, 3/12).

Fiorentina's match on Sunday was stopped in the 13th minute, honoring Davide Astori's shirt number.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Serie A side Fiorentina "paid an emotional tribute to former captain Davide Astori" as it played its first game since the 31-year-old's "sudden death" on March 4. Astori wore the number 13 shirt and the match stopped after 13 minutes, with 60 seconds of "applause taking place." Sunday's match in Florence was "preceded by emotional scenes, with players from both sides crying" as Italian singer Jovanotti performed (BBC, 3/11).

Ahead of the Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) presidential election, 10 La Liga clubs and nine from the second division "have backed Juan Luis Larrea." The only club with a vote that has not expressed its support is Barcelona, "which will only support Larrea" if the Copa del Rey and Supercopa move to a one-game format "to lighten the calendar and reduce the amount of games players have to play." The Copa del Rey format that Barcelona is proposing is a hybrid of the FA Cup and the Coppa Italia (AS, 3/11).

Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger is "worried by an apparent dip in attendance at the Emirates stadium in recent weeks" but said that he is confident the team will do "absolutely everything" to win back its fans. British media reports said that there were "thousands of empty seats" in Arsenal's 3-0 Premier League win over Watford on Sunday despite the club selling 59,131 tickets, "just short" of its total capacity of 59,867 seats (REUTERS, 3/12).

A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers' Red & Black Bloc supporter group was "caught up in fresh controversy" after one of its leaders was banned for a year from games at Olympic Park for chanting "F... FFA." Just a fortnight after the RBB's active area at Spotless Stadium was shut for a game as punishment for fighting flares, one of the RBB's "capos" was served with a police ban from the Olympic Park precinct after Saturday's defeat of Wellington (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/12).