Sunday 28 December 2014

FSF criticises ticket prices

Published 14/08/2014 | 18:45

FSF chief executive Kevin Miles is keen to ensure football does not just become a game for the privileged
FSF chief executive Kevin Miles is keen to ensure football does not just become a game for the privileged

The Football Supporters Federation (FSF) chief executive Kevin Miles believes high ticket prices in the Premier League threaten to kill the "soul of the game".

Around 100 fans carrying banners and chanting songs marched on the league's headquarters in London on Thursday before an FSF delegation met with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

Top of the delegation's agenda was the price of tickets for away supporters, who currently pay according to criteria set by the home team.

The FSF wants a £20-cap to be imposed on away tickets in the Premier League and for all away matches to be classed as Category C fixtures - the cheapest category available.

Miles, who was part of the delegation, said: "It's not about the numbers going through the gates, it's about making sure football doesn't just become an elite sport reserved for the privileged.

"Football clubs have a different relationship with their fans than businesses do with their customers because fans don't have a choice of going elsewhere.

"Managers, players and owners come and go but fans stick with their club for life.

"To exploit that loyalty, passion and commitment for commercial gain - it stinks and it's dangerous for the future soul of the game."

The Premier League will earn £5.5billion from television companies between 2013 and 2016, a deal that represents a £2.1bn-increase on the previous agreement.

This season, the average low-price adult season ticket in the Premier League has gone up 6.5 per cent to £526 while 11 of the 20 top-tier clubs have made their cheapest season ticket more expensive.

"We want football to be affordable for all," Miles continued.

"At a time when there's more money in football than there ever has been before with the incredible television revenues coming in, it is ridiculous that fans are still being squeezed.

"There has to be some of that money available to subsidise tickets rather than creating a climate where prices are constantly going up."

For any new ruling to pass, 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs would have to approve.

Last year's protest did achieve some success as all 20 clubs were given £200,000 each to subsidise fans travelling to matches.

FSF chairman Malcolm Clarke said: "We are beginning to see a little bit of movement.

"It's nothing like enough and that's why marches like today are needed so we can keep making progress.

"I'm an optimist and I'm hopeful we can turn this around. The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is the overwhelming majority of supporters are behind us on this.

"For every supporter that's here in the middle of London, in the rain, on a working day - there will be thousands who are behind what we're doing."

Clubs are unlikely to lower the cost of tickets while supporters continue to pay the current prices.

"Some people have stopped going and that would have a dramatic effect but why should we?" Clarke said.

"It's our game, we were here before the owners came and we'll be here after they've gone.

"We don't feel we should have to stop going to matches in order to affect change so we're trying to achieve it by other ways."

A statement from the Premier League read: "The Premier League today met with a representative group from the supporters who took part in a demonstration outside our offices.

"We had a worthwhile and constructive discussion that identified a number of areas where we can continue to meet with the Football Supporters' Federation and see if any progress can be made."

Press Association

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