The English Premier League has said it will not move to intervene in a growing debate over matchday ticket prices and calls for a cap to be placed on the amount clubs are charging.
The debate has intensified this week after it emerged that Manchester City returned 912 unsold tickets to Arsenal, priced at £62, for this weekend’s game between the two clubs at the Emirates Stadium. The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) has claimed it is unfair that clubs such as Arsenal should charge away fans from the top clubs one figure, and those from less high-profile clubs reduced rates. Stoke City fans will only have to pay £35.50 for their game at the North London club.
“Ticket pricing is a matter for individual clubs, many of which work hard to fill their stadiums with offers at different points during a season that make top-flight football accessible to large numbers of fans,” said a Premier League spokesman, according to Press Association Sport. “We have always encouraged stretch pricing to help accessibility, and it is against Premier League rules to charge away fans more than home fans for the same standard of seats. The quality and safety of stadia is as a result of extensive and continued investment from the clubs.”
The FSF has called on Premier League clubs to pass on the benefits of the League’s vastly increased new television deal to the fans by reducing ticket prices. The Premier League is expected to break through the £5 billion barrier in rights fees per three-year cycle for the first time as it wraps up its overseas sales process for the 2013-14 to 2015-16 seasons. The League has already completed its domestic rights sales, having struck deals in June with pay-television broadcaster BSkyB and telecommunications company BT worth a combined £3.018 billion from 2013-14 to 2015-16, marking a 70% increase on the previous three-year cycle. FSF chairman Malcolm Clarke said: “We estimate clubs could cut £32 off the cost of every single ticket purely from the increase in the TV pot this time around. There are many ways of measuring what is the best league. But if you look at the Bundesliga, where fans can attend matches for Eur15, 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.”