Today was the Premier League shareholders meeting in London, where the club’s CEOs (including Aston Villa’s Tom Fox, it’s assumed) met to discuss matters of the league, with the issue of how to carve up their increased TV wealth, that kicks-in next season, very much at the top of the agenda.
Following on from the nationwide Twenty’s Plenty protests in October (we protested at the Villa vs Stoke game) a delegated of football supporters today went to theChurchill Hyatt Hotel in London, where the Premier League CEOs were meeting, to deliver them a letter (below) asking to properly consider supporters in terms of their increased wealth share out.
The letter especially focuses on a need to show due consideration to away fans, who currently spend the most with addition travel costs in loyally following their teams.
“There is simply no excuse for them not doing more for football’s loyal supporters.” – FSF chief exec Kevin Miles ahead of PL meeting today.
Recently, Aston Villa it has been noted by Villa supporters have been very conservative in accepting only minimal away ticket allocations for Villa fans. Although actually offering tickets to a wider spread of supporters (not just season ticket holders) and cheaper prices, would easily lead to a bigger following for away games.
There are rumours that Premier League clubs will commit to something to reduce costs for away fans. The bare minimum you would expect would be increasing the current away fund from 200k a season.
Any proposal needs 14 clubs to back it for it to pass.
While we await news of whether Premier League clubs will actually finally realise it’s time to give supporters a fairer deal, below is the letter the Football Supporters Federation presented the Premier League CEOs today:
Dear Premier League clubs,
The past weeks and months have shown that fans feel increasingly squeezed in relation to ticket prices. Our “Twenty’s Plenty for Away Tickets” protest in October saw activities at every single Premier League club. Supporters of Bayern Munich even backed our call during their visit to the Emirates. Fans are speaking with one voice on this issue and an increasing number of journalists, pundits and players are voicing their concerns too. Ticket prices are too high.
The Premier League is one of the world’s great leagues and it is our firm belief that supporters play a huge role in this, creating a vibrant spectacle in the stands that has helped clubs secure a record-busting media deal.
We believe that away supporters play a massive part in this and, while home fans can also pay high prices, they at least have access to season ticket discounts or locally promoted deals. No such luck for away supporters who have to contend with higher prices and games being moved for TV, resulting in increased transport costs as rail tickets go to waste. Yet their contribution to the atmosphere is immeasurable.
If away numbers decline, atmospheres will stagnate with negative consequences for home fans too. Ultimately it could lead to a reduced media deal – who wants to watch games played in front of empty stands? It is in the clubs’ own interest to ensure football is affordable for travelling fans.
We welcomed the introduction of the Away Fans’ Initiative which showed that it is possible to act collectively while leaving room for flexibility at each club. However, we believe that the Premier League can go further than the £200,000 which has so far been committed per club, per season.
Since the Away Fans’ Initiative was established clubs have signed the £5.14bn domestic media deal with an estimated £3bn in foreign rights to follow. The increase in domestic rights alone equates to more than £40 for every fan, at every single game, over the three-year deal. It is a phenomenal amount of money and it is in clubs’ interests to use a small fraction of that to ensure football is affordable for the away fan.
In addition to this we reiterate our call for clubs to increase the availability and discounts offered to young adults. Fans often graduate from concession to full adult price band while they are in full time education, apprenticeships or minimum wage jobs. Price supporters out then and you might lose them for life – football should be affordable to all.
The FSF calls for:
- A £20 cap on all away tickets – Twenty’s Plenty;
- An Away Fans Initiative Mark 2, with £1m per club per season set aside primarily to subsidise ticket prices for their away fans;
- An end to match categorisation for away fans;
- An increase in the availability and discounts offered to young adults.
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