Fans chief issues warning over football ticket prices

Manchester City sent back 900 tickets for this weekend's match against Arsenal

Football Supporters Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke has urged the game's authorities to wake up to the growing resentment at massively inflated ticket prices or risk huge numbers of fans turning their backs on the game.

Manchester City have sent back over 900 tickets for Sunday's game at Arsenal after supporters elected not to pay £62 to attend.

City's increased status within the English game means they have joined Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham as clubs who - due to their attractiveness - routinely get charged the highest prices for tickets.

So, whilst Stoke fans must shell out £35.50 for their visit to the Emirates next month, Blues supporters were asked to dig much deeper.

Clarke believes there is no justification for such pricing structures and, with clubs set to pocket their share of the spoils from mega TV deals that, including overseas rights, have crashed through the £4billion barrier, has called for action.

"We have not done the final calculations but we estimate clubs could cut £32 off the cost of every single ticket purely from the increase in the TV pot this time around," he said.

"I know the clubs make the argument of needing the money to attract the biggest stars but I think I know what even Manchester City fans - with their large and enthusiastic following - would go for if they were given the choice of lower ticket prices or slightly worse players than they have now.

"There are many ways of measuring what is the best league. But if you look at the Bundesliga, where fans can attend matches for 15 Euros, stand up, have a pint if they wish, and even get a ticket for the metrolink, it seems the Premier League is short changing its own supporters.

"This business of categorising matches is blatantly unfair. Just because Manchester City have a lot of money doesn't mean their supporters have, and the same is true of the other teams who get charged the highest prices every time they play.

"And if they are starting to say enough is enough, and that in turn affects the atmosphere within the stadiums, will it retain its worldwide popularity? I am not so sure it will.

"This is a real test for the Premier League.

"They seem to think football is immune from the economic situation elsewhere. But it isn't. And how it responds - especially next year - will shape the game for years to come."

Clarke believes there is a risk of an entire generation being lost to the game.

For whilst many clubs cater for junior fans with lower ticket prices, those at school leaving age usually have to pay prices which make attending matches on a weekly basis impossible.

"According to the Premier League's own figures, the average age of fans is going up all the time," said Clarke.

"If it is far cheaper to spend the afternoon in the pub, where is the incentive to attend matches? And once people get out of the habit of going to games, it is not easy to get it back."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there