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Ticket allocation for showpiece football events

March 13, 2015

It’s that time again. The time when clubs reach the stage of football tournaments which are played on neutral grounds and ticket allocation becomes an issue . Is there a 100% fair way of distributing the tickets? I’m not so sure but what I am sure about is it could be made a lot better.

Apparently for some people it’s fair that Reading or Bradford will be given the same allocation of tickets as Arsenal (or insert …………. any other big club they may be playing at showpiece match at Wembley, or neutral stadium that has an average gates of over thirty-two thousand)

It would seem it is fair (example) that Mr Nobody and his Son who have not stepped foot into either the Madejski stadium or Valley Parade could be in attendance at Wembley while Mr Somebody who has taken his Son to almost all home games at Arsenal, (or other big club) would have to watch the match on TV.

No! It would not be fair to reduce the ticket allocation for those clubs on a neutral ground I hear people cry, even Arsenal supporters. Yet it’s wrong to price supporters out of the game. It’s wrong that TV dictates the kick off times of many clubs. It’s wrong that the FA and clubs seem not to care about the fans. Yet it’s not wrong that people who don’t care enough about their club to attend a game during the season to suddenly have the right to purchase a ticket for a showpiece event to follow the club they have not followed all season, which may well stop a fan of another club who had followed his club from attending the same match.

It’s not fair the big club should have any advantage on support. So because the big club should not have any advantage, supporters of Reading or Bradford who have not supported their team in the bread and butter games, should be able to don their colours, take to their transport and travel for a jolly up in London to watch their team in a showpiece football match.

Maybe the small club should be given a goal start and subsidise their travel to the match as well? In what world is that fair? Reading/Bradford could be allowed 17k extra tickets above their average gate just to even things up. Maybe the Reading and Bradford supporters (I use the word Supporters loosely that don’t attend during the season) should attend some/more matches during the season and fill their capacity 25k stadiums in the bread and butter matches.

The fact is every Reading or Bradford fan who has supported his team this during the current season WILL get a ticket and deservedly so. Maybe even add 5k tickets on for the churn, but to let those clubs have the same allocation as club that has a huge average attendance and a season holders that is three times the size of those clubs average gate, for me is totally wrong. I personally would feel embarrassed travelling to the game if I had not been to one match all season. I would feel a right proper glory hunter, knowing I could be there in place of someone who deserves to be there more than I. Fairness? Stinks more like.

How can this be sorted? well here’s my view :

  1. For a start the FOOTBALL FAMILY should NOT get tickets to a major domestic Final or European Final come to that. The Football family should be given tickets to England home internationals as a way of saying thank you. It’s only my view, but no one who does not support either of the teams involved should be inside whatever stadium is being used for the match, in this case Wembley. If the clubs do not sell their allocations which should be at least an 80k split of the capacity of say Wembley then those tickets can then be put back into the system and spread out across whoever the FA want to distribute them too.
  2. Maybe base allocation of tickets on average gate. If you take away the away allocation for home matches say that’s 3000 for Arsenal home matches, that leaves Arsenal with a 57k average gate and therefore Arsenal get 57k allocation of tickets, in turn it would leave Reading with around 14k and Bradford 13k. total around 70k and the remaining 17/18k the FA can do what they wish with. Should the final ever be between to big clubs say Manchester United v Arsenal the two biggest supported clubs, it’s not going to be possible to allocate 129k tickets, but both clubs could be given say 39k Arsenal, 49k United.
  3. Maybe ticket allocation could be based on how many season ticket holders the participating clubs have. So in Arsenal’s case they would get allocated 45k, I’m not sure of the amount of season tickets Reading/Bradford have. However, this option may not be good for the Arsenal silver or red members who go to many games home and away during the season.

With many clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham, maybe others all looking to increase the capacities of their stadiums and having more season ticket holders more and more clubs are going to be dragged into this scenario.

Having said all this I still stand by my view, which is only those that deserve to be inside the stadium, should be inside the stadium, I cannot see an issue with one club getting many more tickets than another if the case may arise as they have bigger support. The upshot of this could actually benefit lower league clubs who more often than not struggle to get big gates and sell season tickets to earn money.

Currently if you support Bradford or Reading, you don’t need to buy a season ticket or even attend a single match, because you know the chances are that if your team do well and reach a semi-final or final, your team are going to get an allocation of tickets far higher than their average gate or season ticket holders the club you support have and that means when the club get their allocation more that their average gate will simply go on general sale to people who could not be bothered to attend during the season and now want to be part of the glory moments.

In the meantime the big clubs have to arrange for people to register an interest online and then do a ballot system which means those with away credits and season ticket holders get first crack and then it filters down to other types of memberships. These type of memberships will still have supporters who have attended matches to watch their clubs play during the season far more often than many of the extra Reading/Bradford supporters would have done.

Of course as I mentioned there may well not be a perfect system here to allocate tickets, but I live in a word where I don’t think it is right that someone who hasn’t been to a football match during 2014-15 season should be in attendance at a showpiece football match in place of those that have.  Just because people think a small club should be just as well represented as the big club on the day for fairness.

The bottom line about fair, is the right people who deserve to be at the game, are at the game, not people who could be basically there for the moment and go back to not attending the following season.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    March 13, 2015 11:16

    I have to say as an Arsenal supporter and therefore a supporter of a big club I couldn’t disagree more.
    As you have mentioned the tickets are sold as such to ensure support is balanced and a neutral ground remains as neutral as possible. Perhaps you’ve forgotten Wigan last year where, they were unable to fill their allocation so a mutual agreement actually allowed what you are proposing.
    I do however agree when it comes to corporate ticketing but again Wembley has to keep all their sponsors etc happy and unfortunately this is the world we live in. As we know all too well with our recent Monday night FA Cup fixture(has to find a way to bring that up somehow).

    • March 13, 2015 12:33

      Balanced is good. However, how can it be right in any situation when supporters who do not turn out and support their club through a season, suddenly get the right to attend a showpiece football match based on making sure the crowd is balanced? The people who deserve the tickets to be inside the ground are the supporters, those that support their teams throughout the season, spend good money and suddenly they are told that due to fairness? They will have to miss out so that Mr Bradford or Mr Reading supporter who can’t be arsed to support his team in bread and butter matches throughout 2-14-15 had to be there inside Wembley to make up the numbers. Of course Arsenal supporters that feel this is correct will obviously not be claiming their tickets and letting those who feel what’s right, proper and fair is put in place.

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