Football: Football Supporters Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke hit out against “blatantly unfair” ticket pricing today after Manchester City fans baulked at the £62 they were asked to shell out to attend Sunday’s match at Arsenal.
Clarke said the game’s authorities need to wake up to supporter resentment at rising prices and follow the example of Germany’s Bundesliga where fans can attend matches at a fraction of the cost paid by their English counterparts.
Premier League champions City sent back over 900 tickets for the match at Ashburton Grove after their fans chose not to pay the extortionate fee, which does not take into account food, drink and travel.
City’s increased status within the English game means they have joined Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham as clubs who get charged the highest prices for tickets.
Clarke says such ticket prices are unjustified, especially in light of the recent television rights deal agreed by Premier League clubs, which was worth over £4 billion.
“We have not done the final calculations, but we estimate clubs could cut £32 off the cost of every single ticket purely from the increase in the TV pot this time around,” Clarke said.
“I know the clubs make the argument of needing the money to attract the biggest stars, but I think I know what even Manchester City fans — with their large and enthusiastic following — would go for if they were given the choice of lower ticket prices or slightly worse players than they have now.
“There are many ways of measuring what is the best league. But if you look at the Bundesliga, where fans can attend matches for 15 euros, stand up, have a pint if they wish, and even get a ticket for the Metrolink, it seems the Premier League is short-changing its own supporters.
“This business of categorising matches is blatantly unfair. Just because Manchester City have a lot of money doesn’t mean their supporters have, and the same is true of the other teams who get charged the highest prices every time they play.
“And if they are starting to say enough is enough, and that in turn affects the atmosphere within the stadiums, will it retain its worldwide popularity? I am not so sure it will.
“This is a real test for the Premier League. They seem to think football is immune from the economic situation elsewhere. But it isn’t. And how it responds, especially next year, will shape the game for years to come.”
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