Leeds fans have criticised the imposition of a £5 ‘pie tax’ at Elland Road and warned the club risks the losing the loyalty of supporters by refusing to open meaningful dialogue in the midst of another increasingly testing campaign.
Club officials are set to introduce the additional charge from this month in the South Stand, meaning adult ticket prices will rise to £42 including a “meal deal” voucher – irrespective of whether fans require refreshments.
The news is a further blow to fans growing increasingly frustrated with the controversial ownership of Massimo Cellino, who performed a U-turn on an earlier decision to sell the club to a fans’ consortium earlier this month.
Leeds Supporters’ Trust chairman Michael Green said: “The whole thing has been introduced without any consultation at all and it is the latest manifestation of a club that is completely out of touch with its supporters.
“Sometimes you have got to keep it in the context of an individual act and it may not be on the same scale as some of the bigger issues the club has had to deal with since Massimo Cellino arrived – however it is one of those things we could have done without.
“The club has an issue of how to keep one of the best supports in the country loyal, because frankly at this moment in time it does not have a lot going for it.
“Certainly you do not do it by trying to force through so-called “pie tax” schemes, especially at a time when disillusionment has already set in and the sense of another wasted season looms large.”
Leeds fans had hoped the move would be scuppered by Football League rules which prohibit clubs increasing their prices in mid-season, however it appears this rule only applies to the price of away tickets.
A club spokesperson told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The club is looking at ways to encourage supporters to use the facilities and catering offerings on matchdays. Adult South Stand tickets are now being sold as a package, which includes the advertised standard match ticket plus meal deal voucher.
“The voucher offers a saving on the standard matchday food and drink prices, and to accommodate demand additional catering units have been identified in the lower concourse and will be designated for serving the voucher-only meal deals.
“This new package only applies to the South Stand, and supporters can buy tickets elsewhere in the stadium at standard ticket prices.”