Sunday 4 December 2016

Man United's strict away ticketing policy is incredibly harsh on their loyal supporters

Published 14/06/2016 | 14:34

Manchester United fans celebrate their team's victory during the English FA Cup final football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Wembley stadium in London on May 21, 2016. / AFP / Ian Kington / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Manchester United fans celebrate their team's victory during the English FA Cup final football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Wembley stadium in London on May 21, 2016. / AFP / Ian Kington / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Roy Keane once said that the true Manchester United fans were the ones who travelled to away trips, rather than those who enjoyed their 'prawn sandwiches' in the loftier confines of Old Trafford.

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The commitment of travelling to an away game - both financially and in terms of time - is far greater than just heading to your local ground, and Keane was right to praise the passion of those who are willing to go the extra mile(s) for their team.

It would be nice if Keane's former club could treat those same fans with the reverence that the former Red Devils captain did. In new away ticketing guidelines published yesterday, Manchester United have adopted some extreme measures.

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For one, if you purchase a ticket to an away game and subsequently decide not to attend, you can get in a great deal of trouble if you pass on your ticket.

If you are found to have given your ticket away - even to a family member or a friend - the club will 'discontinue your ability to apply for away games'.

If it is discovered that you sold on your ticket - even for face value - then you are banned from buying any tickets and attending games for three years.

In order to police this, United say they will conduct 'match ticket validations at selected away grounds' and that photo ID may be required.

These rules are presumably to stop touts from reselling match tickets for big profits but the knock on effects - that you are forbidden from giving your ticket away to a friend or family member - are punishing loyal supporters more than anyone else.

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