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Premier League Clubs Should Spend Windfall On Reduced Away Tickets Say FSA
Friday, 17th Jul 2015 11:04

Each Premier league club this season has received an unexpected windfall of around £1.2 million and the Football Supporters federation know how they should spend it.

Each Premier league club is set to receive £1.2 million from the £24 million that had been earmarked for Norwich City as part of their parachute payment money after relegation from the premier in 2014, however they will now not receive that money after being promoted back for the coming season.

The Football Supporters federation has been quick to respond to this news and has sent a letter to every Premier league club suggesting that they use the money to cap the price in the away sections of their grounds to £20.

“This equates to £1.2m for each club, and we have an idea for how this unexpected windfall could be spent to benefit some of the game’s most loyal fans,’’ said the FSF in its letter to the clubs. “Travelling fans are key to generating the atmosphere that home fans bounce off and vital to the spectacle that TV loves.”

Fans from across the UK gather in Manchester this weekend for a Supporters Summit hosted by the FSF to debate assorted issues, including the Twenty’s Plenty campaign for a maximum £20 away ticket. The debate has intensified since Manchester City fans’ high-profile protest in 2013 against the £62 charge for visiting Arsenal.

Clubs already receive £200,000 each per season from the Premier League to subsidise away trips, and Stoke City, amongst others, run a good scheme laying on free coaches. Swansea City earned widespread praise last week for their decision to underwrite a substantial part of the cost of their fans’ away tickets, capping them at £22.

Half the Premier League clubs last season did offer reciprocal deals, saving 30,548 fans around £300,000 across 18 fixtures but there were increasing protests about ticket prices, including a march on the Premier League and Football League offices, a boycott by many Liverpool fans of their game at the KC Stadium and a demonstration outside the Emirates. In seeking to defend its position, the Premier League points to above 95% occupancy of grounds and argues that ticket prices are an issue for individual clubs.

“Premier League clubs receive billions in media deals and we firmly believe that away fans play a huge role in that,’’ added the FSF. “However, there are many barriers for the away supporter. Travel costs and ticket prices make following your team an expensive business – and away supporters also miss out on season ticket-related discounts and special offers.

“One of our key campaigns is Twenty’s Plenty for away tickets which was launched in 2013 and aims to make football more affordable for travelling fans, preferably by capping tickets at £20. The contribution of away supporters is recognised but home fans do not miss out as they receive the same offer in the return fixture.

“According to our calculations it would cost £20m to implement Twenty’s Plenty at every single Premier League fixture, an average cost of £1m per club. In the past we have been told that clubs budget in three-year cycles, in alignment with the Premier League’s media deals, and therefore they could not account for an unanticipated £1m expenditure.

“However, Norwich City’s promotion means that every single Premier League club received £1.2m that has not been budgeted to spend elsewhere. We would encourage every club to use this unexpected windfall to make football more affordable for one of the most loyal, hard-pressed groups in football – the travelling fan.”

The Everton fans’ group, the Blue Union, will submit an emergency motion to the Supporters Summit in Manchester calling on the FSF “to implore the Premier League to acknowledge the role played by travelling supporters in adding to the colour, noise and atmosphere at Premier League games.

“Recognition of the role played by fans can be achieved by investing the savings made due to Norwich City’s promotion in making football affordable for those who travel the extra mile - the travelling supporter.’’

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