Fans across Europe to unite in protest against ticket prices

Date published: Wednesday 10th February 2016 3:24

Liverpool fans: Staged protest against Sunderland

Liverpool fans: Staged protest against Sunderland

Fans across Europe are set to unite in protest against recent rises in ticket prices amid concerns supporters are being priced out of football.

Recent high-profile incidents at Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund will have raised fears among authorities of potential copycat demonstrations at top-level matches on the continent.

The Football Supporters’ Federation has implicitly backed direct action, believing the attendant negative publicity of such protests can help sway Premier League club executives to implement price caps.

And Germany-based Football Supporters Europe has urged supporters from different countries to come together in order to co-ordinate the kind of campaigns they hope will prove a catalyst for change.

Thousands of Liverpool supporters staged a walk-out during last week’s game against Sunderland over price increases for next season which will see the most expensive ticket priced at £77.

And on Tuesday night Borussia Dortmund supporters threw tennis balls onto the pitch during their German Cup match against Stuttgart to protest against rising prices for away fans.

Premier League clubs last month failed to ratify a proposal to limit prices for away fans to £30, but FSF chairman Malcolm Clarke is convinced officials could now change their mind at their next scheduled meeting next month.

Clarke told Press Association Sport: “The proposal to have a £30 cap on away tickets was blocked by a number of clubs but with the publicity and focus on the issue there is now a groundswell of support for change.

“When the clubs meet again to discuss the issue hopefully it will get the required level of support. It won’t necessarily be as much as we want, but at least a £30 cap on away prices would be a good start.”

The issue was raised during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday, when David Cameron conceded “there is a problem” with continued ticket price increases at the top end of the game.

Meanwhile the FSE has stressed the need for supporters from different clubs and countries to work together in order to maximise the effectiveness of their respective campaigns.

The FSE has been involved in a number of fan campaigns including the successful rejection of an ID card scheme proposed for supporters of all teams in the Turkish Super Lig.

FSE spokesman Philipp Markhardt said: :”There are many different reasons to protest, including mandatory supporter ID cards and fan-unfriendly kick-off times.

“Football Supporters Europe is encouraging supporters all across Europe – and of course in the UK – to unite and communicate their concerns, and we are very happy to see different supporters work together.”

Fans’ anger has been heightened by the incoming £5.1billion television rights deal, which the FSF believes would allow clubs to let every supporter into every home game for free next season and still bring in the same revenue.

And it will have been brought into sharp focus by the fact there is unrest in Germany, often held up as an example of an ideal fan experience in the UK, where campaign group Kein Zwanni (No to 20 Euros) was behind the Dortmund protest.

Organiser Marc Quambusch told Press Association Sport: “We are not talking about a once in a lifetime concert because Michael Jackson has come back to Earth, we are talking about an average football match.”

Five clubs – Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Norwich and Swansea – have confirmed they will be freezing ticket prices for next season, while prices at West Ham will be reduced due to their move to the Olympic Stadium.

Liverpool will reduce prices in some categories whilst raising them in others, while Newcastle will freeze adult prices and reduce admission fees for under-18s. The remaining 12 Premier League clubs are either yet to announce their plans, or have so far been unresponsive on the issue.

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