Thursday 14 December 2017

Manchester United fans fury as club charges for match with no confirmed date or opponents

JJ Bull

Manchester United have very kindly debited season ticket holders' bank accounts for a Champions League qualifying match which has no confirmed date or opponent.

Louis Van Gaal's side, who play PSG as part of their pre-season schedule in Chicago on Thursday morning (2am BST), will not learn who they face in the play off until August 7th, with the actual date of the fixture to be decided at the same time.

United are seeded in the draw for the ties, which will take place on the 18th or 19th of August and 25th or 26th of August, and since every single one of the club's fans are filthy rich and none of them have any work or personal commitments that may possibly clash with the game, they have had the exact amount that a ticket for the match will cost deducted from their personal collection of money, as per the rules of direct debit.

Read more: What time does Manchester United vs PSG start tonight and which TV channel is it on?

Some fans are inevitably disappointed with the practise, but it is one that is firmly part of the terms and conditions of being a Manchester United customer fan:


This scenario is not exclusive to Manchester United either and several other Premier League clubs do the same thing. There's even an advantage to being a Red Devil here as ticket holders are allowed to opt out of purchasing FA Cup and Champions League tickets in advance with no repercussions, in the same way that you'd be allowed to opt out of turning up for work if you didn't consider being prevented access from the building the following week as a repercussion.

If proof were needed that big clubs don't care about the Capital One Cup - at all - United's website offers some, and explains that you're allowed to skip those games:

"If a Ticket Holder opts out of purchasing any cup ticket (either at the start of the Season (in the case of the League Cup) or on a match by match basis), then this may adversely affect any application to obtain away match tickets (which includes, without limitation, any finals of cup competitions and any FA Cup semi-finals) through the application processes operated by the Club."

Last season United season ticket holders were told to buy a £50 ticket for the FA Cup replay against Cambridge United or they would not be allowed to attend the following home game against Sunderland, upsetting a number of loyal fans in the process. Some have even been forced to give up their tickets due to the spiralling costs involved, including sort-of-but-not celebrity fan and internet-sensation-for-five-weeks, Andy Tate.

The policy appears to be designed to take advantage of the idea that if one person can't go there's almost certainly another fan desperate to turn up. In reality, the rules simply go someway to explaining why early FA Cup rounds can appear poorly attended at Old Trafford, as supporters elect to purchase tickets to a match they cannot even get to in order to keep their hopes alive of getting tickets to a cup final, or even a Premier League match which they've already paid for.

"We hope you're looking forward to our return to European football", says an email sent to fans reminding them to update their cup preference details.

Read more: Pedro edging closer to €31m Man United switch

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