Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis fears supporters are being priced out of watching football at the Emirates Stadium

Gunners chief offers his sympathy to the fans due to the recent increase in ticket prices, while the AST seek assurances from new owner Stan Kroenke concerning reinvestment
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has expressed concern that the average football fan may be priced out of being able to attend matches at the Emirates Stadium due to the recent rise in ticket prices.

The Gunners have revealed this week that there will be a hike in prices by 6.5 per cent for the 2011-12 season, a rise that sees the lowest-priced season ticket at the north London club go up from £893 to £951.

According to the Daily Mail, Gazidis said in a letter to the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST): "I share your concerns that ordinary fans are being priced out of live football.

"This is bad for the continued health of the game and is driven primarily by escalating and ultimately unsustainable levels of spending on transfer fees and salaries.

"This is a fundamental issue that football needs to address and is why I have been a vocal supporter of Uefa’s proposals to bring more restraint and responsibility to spending within football."

He added: "I agree that we need to reduce the club's reliance on ticket revenue as a source of income to compete at the highest level. At present, we are more reliant on ticket revenue than any of our major competitors.

"Therefore, we have made significant investment in initiatives to ensure that our squad spending becomes as efficient as it can be and to develop our commercial revenues.

"The results of those investments will not be instantaneous but they are already beginning to make a difference. Coupled with initiatives to build our fanbase around the world, this will reduce our reliance on the matchday fan as our biggest source of income. We are working hard to get to that point but we are not there yet."

The AST expressed their disappointment that their call to stop the increase in pricing of the tickets failed, and they are also seeking assurances from Stan Kroenke that the increase in revenue will lead to reinvestment in the squad.

Spokesman Tim Payton said: "The AST is very disappointed that Arsenal have rejected our call for ticket prices to be frozen as we feel the decision will see loyal fans priced out of the Emirates.

"We are pleased that Ivan Gazidis has acknowledged that the cost of attending football matches is pricing fans out of the game and we welcome his commitment to a wholesale review in 2012-13.

"Now that this decision has been made, the AST would like guarantees that this money is invested in team strengthening. It would be shocking to see this money extracted from the club by Stan Kroenke.

"We believe that he should give further reassurances to fans ahead of the renewing of season tickets that this is the case."

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