Older fans fleeing the price squeeze on Premier League tickets

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The Independent Online

The Football Supporters Federation and Age UK have condemned ticket price levels for elderly fans at Premier League grounds

While some clubs sell half-price tickets to the elderly, others offer as little as 10 per cent off the full ticket price, an investigation by i has revealed. Football Supporters Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke described this inconsistency as "bizarre" and believes it will be a "significant deterrent" to many elderly fans. If life-time supporters are priced out of watching their clubs, that may risk exacerbating social exclusion, according to the charity Age UK.

The Premier League's worst offenders are Queen's Park Rangers.For Category A games – those against the Manchester teams, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool – non-members aged 60 and above have to pay £40, £45, £55 or £60 depending on where they sit. Not only are these the highest prices asked of seniors in the Premier League, they also represent the slimmest discounts: of 14, nine, 10 and 11 per cent from the full price respectively.

Category B matches at Loftus Road are not much cheaper. The range there for senior citizens is between £50 and £30, again at discounts of between only 11 and 16 per cent.

Three miles away at Fulham the deal is almost as bad. The range of senior citizens' prices at Craven Cottage for Category A Premier League games is between £35 and £45, discounted from between £45 and £60: a reduction of between 22 and 27 per cent.

This is not entirely a London issue either. For Liverpool's seven Category A league games (including the visit of Aston Villa), over-65s pay £34 in the Kop and £36 for the rest of the ground, a reduction of only a quarter. Similarly, top Premier League games at Manchester City cost over-65s between £30 and £39, at discounts of between 19 and 27 per cent.

It is rare that the ticketing policies of the larger clubs are to be applauded, but in this case they are rather more generous than some of the smaller sides. Manchester United are in fact among the country's most generous clubs regarding their older supporters. They give 50 per cent discounts on Premier League tickets, but with a maximum price of £20, meaning that some seats cost as little as £14, and some are discounted as far as 60 per cent.

Chelsea also offer 60 per cent off, selling Category A Premier League East Stand tickets for £19.50 and £27.50. Arsenal sell seats for Category A league games in the family enclosure to seniors for £22 and £27, again roughly 60 per cent off. Of course, it is easier to offer larger discounts when the full price is higher.

It is the variation between the discounts for the elderly that is most striking. "Most people's starting assumption might be for a discount of half of the normal price," Clarke told i. "There seems to be absolutely no justification for such a wide range of variation between clubs."

Times are already harder for the elderly.and barriers to attending football risk exacerbating a serious social issue. "It is important that older people have the opportunity to go out and be entertained," said Greg Lewis of Age UK.

The solution, as proposed by the FSF, is league regulation of prices.

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