Manchester City fans to protest ticket prices with banners rather than a walkout
Published 23/03/2016 | 18:06
Manchester City supporters are to protest over ticket prices for next month's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Paris St Germain.
The top-priced ticket for the April 12 contest at the Eithad Stadium costs £60, with the cheapest £45, and City on Monday claimed it was a "fair reflection of the profile of the game".
But fans are angry at the large increase on prices from the previous round and group matches, and on Wednesday the 1894 Group revealed a protest involving banners has been planned for the Barclays Premier League home clash with West Brom on April 9.
The group on Monday said they had been asked to organise a walkout protest - something they stressed on Wednesday they have decided against doing for now.
But they added they could envisage "a majority of fans" backing such action in the future if prices continue to rise, and added they support the right of any individual fan to choose to walk out of the West Brom game.
The group's statement on Wednesday said: "The PSG pricing structure was a last straw for many fans.
"What we are sure about is that there is huge concern about where ticket prices are going.
"Would we see £70/£80 tickets for a semi-final? Would we see further rises for season tickets next year?
"We always try to reflect what City fans are saying to us and what they are saying is that they want the club to listen.
"If the club don't listen some fans will walk away from the club regardless of who the manager is and regardless of who we sign.
"We also feel the best way we can help the club realise that prices should come down is for the supporters to stick together on this issue.
"That being the case and after carefully considering all views, we've taken the view that we should raise awareness through banners at the West Brom game.
"After listening to fans we have decided against organising a walk-out at this stage because we feel that might split the supporters and we have more chance of achieving our aims if we are not divided.
"If the club don't listen to the fans and prices continue to rise then we see a time where a majority of fans will accept and support a walk out.
"Some fans will walk out anyway at the West Brom game. We support their right to choose to want to walk out."
Tickets for City's last-16 game against Dynamo Kiev cost £30-£40, while it was £20-£40 for the group stage matches against Juventus, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach.
The club have not commented on the latest 1894 Group statement about the pricing for the PSG fixture, but on Monday said: ''Pricing for each match is reviewed on an individual basis, based on factors such as the opposition and stage of competition.
''As this match is the quarter-final of Europe's biggest cup competition and the first time the club has progressed to this stage we believe the ticket prices are a fair reflection of the profile of the game.''
On Tuesday, an open letter from the City Watch website to the club also urged a rethink on the pricing for the PSG game.
It said: "As your accounts swell and your executives pat themselves on the back on a job well done in terms of building our commercial value, our pockets are becoming emptier.
"Once respected as a working class club renowned for its respectful and understanding relationship with its fans, Manchester City is now just another Premier League 'corporation' driven solely by its bottom line.
"The club is embarking on a pursuit of global dominance, and while we're all very much supportive of that, it's being done at the expense of us.
"By charging £60 for a match...you have injured one of the single most important players to that tie, us the supporters.
"We therefore strongly urge you to reconsider your ticket pricing structure.
"It's time to listen to us. Turn your back on the fans, and we'll turn our backs on you."