Tag Archives: statement

FA Cup Ticket Price Protest

We are The Shed and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust are planning a visual protest at The FA Cup Final to show our disgust at the ticket prices. 

When The Chairman of The FA is presented on the pitch, shortly after ‘Abide with Me’, to shake hands with dignitaries and officials, we urge all supporters turn their backs on the pitch until he has left the pitch.

We urge supporters of both teams to take part and spread the word, to help create a powerful visual protest against FA Cup Final ticket prices and show that collectively we can collaborate, make a point and take action.

This year has seen a substantial increase in ticket prices compared with last season’s final, with the largest allocation of tickets (category 2) increasing in price by 35%.

We urge all those attending the game to take part and help get the message across to The FA that, as football supporters, we are against blatant profiteering at the expense of the supporters and treating us contemptuously as cash cows.

We have had enough and it needs to stop.

FA Cup Final Ticket Pricing

Chelsea Supporters will be looking forward to the FA Cup Final on May 19th; a competition in which we have been very privileged to be at the conclusion of many times over the last 20 years.

However, while the team may have fought long and hard to get there, the supporters have had to dip their hands in their pockets repeatedly during an arduous season, arguably an even greater commitment.

Coupled with season ticket renewals in the middle of May to the tune of (on average) £800, the prospect of paying up to £145 for a FA Cup Final ticket is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

While we certainly do not hope that this is Chelsea’s last visit to a FA Cup Final for the foreseeable future, this must be the last time the FA gets away with such extortionate ticket prices.

In April, the FA met with Supporters’ Trusts from all four semi-finalists and agreed a number of concessions for the Final including reductions in prices for concessionary tickets; a commitment to review the pricing of tickets behind the goals and introducing an accessibly priced family area going forward and keeping future ticket prices in line with inflation.

However, we believe that this is too little, too late and does not go far enough.

The FA Cup Final remains a very special occasion for football supporters, as a chance to see their team triumph in the most historic club competition in football. While demand always exceeds supply; no supporter able to go should be priced out of the Final.

The FA’s specious argument that the pricing reflects the fact that it is one of the most prestigious events in the sporting calendar and that every penny of profit is reinvested in to the grass roots of the game is subterfuge for blatantly profiteering from the very people whose interests they should serve: the loyal supporters who support the game week in, week out.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, together with the other Supporters’ Trusts, vows to keep the pressure on the FA by any means possible, until the FA agree to change their pricing policy and make ticket prices affordable to the long suffering and ordinary supporter.

We have been taken advantage of for long enough and it’s time for this to stop.

David Chidgey, Chairman, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust

FA RESPONDS TO FAN REPS CALLS OVER CUP PRICING

Following the meeting last week between senior FA executives and fan representatives from the teams competing in this season’s FA Cup semi-finals regarding ticket pricing for the semi-finals and final, the FA has confirmed a number of changes to its previous approach.

  • Concessionary tickets will now be charged at £25 off the full adult rate for categories A and B for this year’s final. Concessions for categories C and D remain at £10 off the full adult rate.
  • The FA has committed to review the price bandings behind the goals in Level 1 of Wembley stadium, in collaboration with fan representatives, for the 2018-19 semi-finals and final in recognition of the contribution fans in those areas make to the spectacle and atmosphere.
  • There is a commitment to evaluate the feasibility of introducing a more accessibly priced family area for the 2018-19 semi-finals and final.
  • The FA has committed to keep prices in line with inflation until 2021.

The movement on concessions for this year’s final is to be welcomed, as is the commitment to address the wider issues we raised ahead of next year’s competition. We are obviously disappointed that the other decisions taken for this year’s competition will stand, meaning fans face significantly higher costs. And while the pledge to keep future price increases below RPI until 2021 is progress, we still believe tickets are priced too high and that ticket price inflation has been too steep. The FA’s income from sponsorship and broadcasting linked to the FA Cup will increase significantly from 2018-19 and we expect to see some of that invested in loyal fans whose support is vital for the spectacle that those sponsors and broadcasters are investing in.

Football ticket pricing is not an ordinary competitive market. It is a monopoly and the FA, as the game’s regulatory body, should be setting an example by rewarding fans’ loyalty.

What we are encouraged by is the FA’s acknowledgement that this year’s decisions should not have been taken without proper consultation with supporters. And so we welcome the commitment to discuss pricing for subsequent competitions properly with supporter groups.

The test of that commitment will come as discussions play out. The FA now has the chance to set the standard for genuine consultation that enhances the reputation of the FA Cup, a competition fans continue to hold dear.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust

Manchester United Supporters’ Trust

Southampton Fan Groups

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust

FAN REPS MEET WITH FA EXECUTIVES OVER CUP PRICING

On Monday 9 April, fan representatives from the Clubs competing in the FA Cup semi-finals along with FA Council supporter representative, Katrina Law, met with FA CEO, Martin Glenn and senior FA executives to discuss the increase in pricing for this season’s FA Cup semi-finals and final.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, Southampton fan groups and Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust had previously released a joint statement questioning the need for the increases on the back of record broadcast and sponsorship deals and calling for a rethink.

The opportunity to meet with FA decision makers for a constructive and frank discussion was welcomed, as was the acknowledgement that future dialogue should ideally take place before decisions directly affecting fans are made, where possible.

The fan reps have asked that the FA consider a number of measures to reduce the impact of ticket price increases on supporters at this season’s final. With sales already concluded and tickets already printed for the semi-finals, there was no opportunity to revisit the pricing policy for the games scheduled for the 21 and 22 April at this stage.

The FA has committed to explore the viability of those measures and to respond within the next ten days. We’ll make further comment after receiving that response.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust

Manchester United Supporters’ Trust

Southampton Fan Groups

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust

FA Cup Ticket Pricing

The decision to raise prices for the FA Cup semi-finals and finals to the highest levels ever defies belief.
 
The FA has secured record broadcast rights for the competition, there is a lucrative sponsorship deal in place, and attendances throughout the competition have been higher than in recent years. The FA itself is in better financial health than ever. So we cannot see the rationale for hiking prices.

The FA could have tried to explain the reasoning to fans, but once again the people who are the lifeblood of the game, the paying customers, were not consulted or even given advance notice. Like it or lump it is the clear message.
 
Supporters of all four clubs have already spent a fortune following their teams from round three onwards. Our reward for reaching the last four is price rises 10x the rate of inflation. The FA has taken this decision at a time when, by contrast, the Premier League has reduced the cost of away tickets to a maximum of £30.
 
Freezing the lowest ticket price category is a token gesture that will benefit only a small minority of supporters. These price increases further illustrate the longstanding issue we have with the FA as both the regulator of the game as well as the worst offender when it comes to excessive ticket prices for fans. A concession discount of just £10 further compounds the issue.

 
The price of football at the top level is already extortionate. This latest decision is nothing more than opportunistic exploitation of fan loyalty. We expect better from a body that claims to be the guardian of the game, especially in the oldest and most famous cup competition in world football.
 
We wonder, too, how the FA’s commercial partners feel about being associated with such naked opportunism.
 
The FA still has time to rethink. It should.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, Southampton fan groups
21 March 2018

FansBet Sponsorship completes Shrewsbury Town’s Safe Standing Crowdfunding Campaign

In an historic achievement, Shrewsbury Town Football Club are one step closer to being the first club in England & Wales to introduce safe standing at their Montgomery Waters Meadow stadium, following the successful completion of their crowdfunding campaign thanks to a considerable contribution from FansBet.

FansBet, whose ambassador is former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson, said of their contribution to the campaign “We know exactly how important the issue of safe standing is to fans in helping generate the correct environment to enjoy watching football for supporters young and old.”

The campaign, spearheaded by the Shrewsbury Town Supporters’ Parliament in partnership with the Club and sports fanfunding specialists Tifosy, raised more than £65,000 through contributions from almost 1,000 fanfunders.

Reflective of the national demand for safe standing, the crowdfunding campaign drew in support from fans and supporters’ groups up and down the country, transcending traditional club loyalties. 

Speaking of the achievement, Roger Groves of the Shrewsbury Town Supporters’ Parliament said “This is a remarkable achievement by the hundreds of fans and sponsors, especially FansBet, who have paved the way for the thousands more to bring standing back to matchdays at their clubs. I am very proud that Shrewsbury Town has been at the heart of this”.

Brian Caldwell, Shrewsbury Town CEO, added “We are delighted that Shrewsbury Town will be the flagship club in addressing this issue, which is so important to so many fans. We will now continue the process to introduce rail seating in the Salop Leisure Stand at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, and we hope to have supporters watching home games from the safe standing area before the end of the season”.

Safe standing has been something that fans nationwide have campaigned to see introduced for many years, as government policy currently prohibits many clubs from offering supporters the chance to stand. As one of the few clubs with an all-seater ground able to introduce a rail seating section, Shrewsbury Town will now lead the way in making the case for a change in policy and adding a standing option to the matchday experience for all clubs and fans.

Supporter groups say NO to Christmas Eve football

Football supporters know all too well the impact that changes to the fixture schedule have. Often plans are rearranged and expense incurred when a match is moved to accommodate cup football or for TV scheduling. We have very little, if any say, despite being the most put upon stakeholders in the game. Representatives from the Premier League Fans Group have recently started to meet with Sky Sports and BT Sport to put forward supporter views on these changes and to look at ways we can mitigate this impact.

 

However the news that has broken this week, that Sky plan to fill their ‘Super Sunday’ TV slots, despite this falling on Christmas Eve, is hugely disappointing and frustrating for supporters. Whilst the discussion has been dominated by the likelihood of an Arsenal v Liverpool fixture on 24th December, choices have not yet been finalised and any club is still available to be chosen for a televised game.

 

This is wrong and no fixtures should be scheduled for that day. Supporters would be faced with the unenviable task of deciding between family, friends and loved ones and any pre-existing plans for that time of year or continuing their loyalty and support for their club.

 

Club staff would also face similar difficulties. Public transport shuts down early on Christmas Eve and travel may be at a greater expense. Made to work, their plans and priorities are challenged in pursuit of a TV programme. These staff aren’t the well paid millionaires, but the catering, hospitality, stewarding and security personnel required to fulfil a fixture. This extends further to police, local authority and others who will have to work to facilitate such a change. 

 

None of these, like supporters, share in the Premier League riches or have Premier League style lifestyles and wages. This would be more take, with little given back.

 

This must not be allowed to happen, not this season and not in future seasons. We are more than willing to work with the broadcasters and the league to avoid such pitfalls for the benefit of all. After all, we don’t want this to be the ghost of Christmas future.

 

Now though, the decision makers must show this is indeed the season of goodwill after all. Sky, the Premier League and the clubs have to recognise that whilst there is a TV slot available, football on Christmas Eve is unacceptable and is a step too far.

 

Supporters should clearly be included within any decision-making process in relation to such drastic changes and this is not something that is being taken lightly. We have already successfully campaigned for cheaper away tickets and will continue our work to ensure that match-going fans are treated as fairly as possible.

 

Supported by:

 

Spirit Of Shankly, Liverpool Supporters’ Trust

Spion Kop 1906

Arsenal Supporters Trust

Chelsea Supporters Trust

Manchester United Supporters Trust

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust

Black Scarf Movement

Watford Supporters Trust

Burnley FC Supporters Groups

Swans Trust

Newcastle United Supporters Trust

Huddersfield Town Supporters Association

Stand Up For Town

Stoke City Supporters Council

Cherries Trust

West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association

Premier League Trusts lobby on Russian visas for travelling supporters

The new season is almost upon us and for those in European competitions, supporters will be looking at their potential opponents. Not just to weigh up the opposition, but also to work out any potential and no doubt costly travel arrangements.

The likelihood is that at least one English team will be drawn against a Russian team, which will mean the cost and inconvenience of a visa application.

With the requirement to now attend the Russian Visa centre in person for Biometric collection, (not ideal for any supporters, especially those based outside of London as the two centres are in London & Edinburgh) not only is the cost a major issue, but for most supporters an extra day’s leave from work is required.

Spirit of Shankly, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, Manchester City’s 1894 group, Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Everton’s Supporters’ Trust and Blue Union call upon UEFA and their respective clubs to work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to ensure that a supporters’ ticket is sufficient as a visa should any English teams be drawn in Russia.

It is evident that this is more than a possibility due to the relaxation of the requirements for the Confederations Cup that was hosted in Russia earlier this year. With a valid match ticket supporters were able to apply for a fan ID, which in effect became their visa. We see no reason why this cannot be applied for UEFA competitions.

Similarly, we call for the British Government to apply the same sense for Russian fans visiting England.

Each Supporters’ Trust/Group will be lobbying their relevant club to ensure this happens.

West Ham away game on 6th March 2017

Representatives of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust recently attended a briefing meeting at the ‘London’ stadium ahead of our Premier League fixture on Monday evening 6th March 2017, following the well publicised events of our League Cup game there back in October 2016. We were joined by staff of West Ham United and Chelsea FC , LS185 (responsible for stewarding), Police including the Matchday Commander, and supporter reps of West Ham.

We were generally satisfied that many actions have been implemented by WHU, LS185 and the Police to ensure that most of the issues seen in the previous game are unlikely to reoccur.

Chelsea FC have issued guidance for match going supporters.

We are hopeful the event will pass without major incident, and we are happy to receive feedback from traveling supporters attending the game, negative and positive. Email at enquiries@chelseasupporterstrust.com or via our contact form.

West Ham EFL Cup Game – Follow Up Meeting

Following on from our EFL Cup game against West Ham at the London Stadium, Amanda Jacks, Caseworker at the Football Supporters Federation facilitated a meeting between parties involved with game management; stadium operators LS185, Met Police Football Unit and British Transport Police plus representatives from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and West Ham supporter organisations.

The meeting took place on 9 November 2016 and with the agreement of all present, the following notes have been drawn up by Amanda and address many of the issues and concerns raised by our supporters who attended the game.

We would like to thank Amanda for her involvement and work in getting all parties together, and we look forward to a safer and more enjoyable experience when we return for our Premier League game in March 2017 (assuming we aren’t drawn there in the FA Cup beforehand).

We would also like to thank the many Chelsea supporters who sent us  reports of their experiences at the London Stadium on 26 October 2016. Significantly, the reports were consistent in their accounts of the evening’s events and were used to form the basis of our complaints to the relevant authorities.

Amanda Jack’s notes:

“Following the recent West Ham Utd FC v Chelsea FC EFL Cup Game, I asked the Met Police if they would facilitate a meeting to discuss the fixture.  They agreed to this and together with the interim Chair of the newly reformed WHU Independent Supporter Association, two Board members of the Chelsea Supporters Trust, a representative of the WHU fansite Claret & Hugh and an individual WHU supporter invited by the clubs dedicated football officer, we all met on Wednesday, 9 November the earliest day after the game all parties were available.  Also in attendance were the Heads of Safety & Security and Commercial from LS185 the London Stadium operators, the clubs (very new) Supporter Services Manager and a Sergeant from BTPs Football Unit.

After introductions, I opened the meeting by stating the obvious; that all supporter representatives in no way condoned the behaviour of those whose actions were well publicised and that we were all there to raise genuine concerns raised by many of our members. The common themes in communications from both home and away supporters included policing and stewarding and whether or not it could have been more effective in reducing anti-social behaviour and possible criminality.  The concerns were balanced by a recognition that individuals must take responsibility for their own behaviour but equally the legitimate question was asked – could more effective policing and stewarding and overall match day operation reduced the likelihood of disorder and anti social behaviour.  A candid discussion by all parties followed.

Broadly speaking the Met Police were happy with their operation but acknowledged, as did LS185 that the stadium and the vast surrounding areas present unique challenges. The design of the London Stadium does not afford natural segregation meaning there is freedom of movement inside that is relatively unusual.  Unfortunately, while the vast majority of fans stayed in their designated seats a small number took advantage of the freedom and came together for no other reason than to take advantage of closer proximity to the away fans.

Supporters around the table said that they’d observed behaviour in the first half of the game (goading, gestures etc) and questioned why those responsible weren’t spoken to or even ejected at half time which is more or less common practice elsewhere.  Many of those who’d contacted their respective fans reps had said they’d also witnessed stewards not taking swift action to deal with ASB.  There was a admission from LS185 that in some instances the stewarding was not as proactive as it could have been and this is being addressed. Fans could expect to see more stewards in the future although it was suggested it wasn’t the number of stewards that mattered, it was their quality and competence that was important.  This wasn’t disagreed with by LS185 but the reality is there isn’t a limitless pool of stewards to recruit from. 

LS185 said it should also be taken into account that they have a duty of care towards stewards and they will not send stewards in to remove supporters whilst the game was ongoing to prevent them (stewards) becoming a target and consideration also needs to be given as to whether or not intervention could cause an escalation of behaviour.  

Externally, numerous supporters raised concerns as to the lack of sufficient signage a lighting.  While this was acknowledged as being an issue, the reality is given the land around the stadium straddles three different Boroughs and with many organisations (such as Thames Water) having lawful access and rights over the land, identifying one party responsible practically and financially for the provisions isn’t easy.   This is frustrating to say the least and I committed to write to the Mayor of London to ask him if he can assist in cutting through “red tape” and work towards ensuring facilities that assist towards health, safety and security are provided. 

One specific issue raised by the Chelsea Supporters Trust was to ask about a number of their supporters who had been escorted from Highbury & Islington to Hackney Wick station and thereafter the stadium by the police.  Some had been issued with dispersal notices whereas others had been allowed access into the stadium but not in time for the first half of the game. 

The Met went into some detail about this aspect of their operation and explained that the group were all known to them, that they were ‘risk’ supporters and the intention was to ensure they did not cause disorder before, during or after the game.  CST explained that while this may well have been the case, within the group were fans caught up in this operation who had no intentions of doing anything other than supporting their team and were targeted unfairly.

With regard to the holdbacks that fans from both sides were subjected to pre and post match, these were imposed by the police as part of the ‘risk’ group/fan management and it was acknowledged by the police that their communication (with loudhailers, perhaps) to those innocent fans caught up could have been better and that they resolved to improve this for future such incidents, where appropriate.

The Met acknowledged that sometimes innocent fans may well be inadvertently caught up in such escorts and were sorry if that was the case on this occasion.  However, they explained that the officers managing the escort are able to exercise discretion and will always make a case by case decision if fans ask them if they can make their own way free from an escort.  Equally, the police will proactively pick fans out of the escort if they’re not known to them – for example pensioners or those with young children with them – and let them leave of their own accord.

The meeting drew to a close after a discussion lasting over two hours.  All questions and points raised by supporter representatives were addressed with total transparency and there was no shying away from difficult subjects.    Ultimately, the stadium operators have to work with the stadium as it stands and likewise the police have a vast area to manage externally.   Each game presents different challenges and while there may have been healthy debate on some aspects and some questions raised more issues than answers, we were all broadly reassured that while solutions may not be immediately found, both LS185 and the Met are in no doubt as to fans legitimate concerns and are working hard to address those, so as far as is reasonably possible the ‘match day experience’ for all is a positive and safe one.”