Monday 5 December 2016

Supporters set to target sponsors over high tickets prices

Ian Herbert

Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said yesterday that “compromises” must be made to “find solutions that everybody wants”. Photo: Martin Meissner/AP
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said yesterday that “compromises” must be made to “find solutions that everybody wants”. Photo: Martin Meissner/AP

The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) will target Premier League clubs' sponsors to apply pressure for affordable away tickets, pointing out that the failure to provide bigger subsidies despite a forthcoming £5.1bn TV deal is an embarrassment.

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Liverpool's commercial partners, including Subway, have already been targeted by an email and social media campaign as fans mobilise against a new price structure which includes some £77 tickets in the redeveloped Main Stand. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said yesterday that "compromises" must be made to "find solutions that everybody wants", though despite considering a review of prices, it is understood that no new proposal for fans is imminent.

Supporters' trusts indicated yesterday a belief that the 77th-minute walk-out by 10,000 Liverpool fans, during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sunderland, could trigger a greater desire for activism over the more widely denigrated failure of Premier League clubs to agree a £30 cap on away tickets.

The FSF, which has led the campaign for a £20 limit, has already made contact with the League's main sponsor Barclays, which has twice met the Liverpool and Everton supporter groups Spirit of Shankly and Blue Union. The bank has told the FSF that financial problems faced by away fans need to be addressed, though has not gone as far as supporting a ticket price cap.

The FSF has said it is "incredibly disappointed" by the clubs' failure to reach a two-thirds majority on the £30 cap and warned the issue "will not go away". It has also produced a "lobbying tool" to allow fans to contact their clubs directly.

It is thought that the major obstacle to the cap - back on the agenda when the 20 clubs next meet in April - is the unwillingness of some larger clubs to agree to take a larger financial hit than the smaller ones. At least one of the major clubs would support an across-the-board commitment of £1m-a-season to subsidise the costs of away tickets for that club's fans.

Ironically, considering the controversy around their pricing structure, Liverpool have supported the idea of reduced away ticket prices in the past. The Anfield club told their own supporters association two years ago that they would "continue to raise the matter on an opportunity basis".

Klopp said the discussion with fans was essential. "We are really interested in finding a solution and that is how it should be," the German said. "We should talk about this. It is really rare that you find a solution where everybody says 'Yes!' - you have to make compromises." (© Independent News Service)

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