Following a backlash from supporters, Arsenal have backed down on plans to charge season ticket holders a surcharge for the upcoming Champions League clash with Barcelona.
The fee, up to £30, was due to be added to the cost of next season’s season ticket renewal unless fans opted out of going to the match.
While there’s no promise that the club won’t impose a similar charge in the future, they admit that the manner in which the communicated the additional cost was poor.
A statement reads: “We have listened to our fans and recognise that there is confusion about the basis of our long-standing policy on charges for the seven cup games in our season ticket package.
“We believe that this policy, which last year resulted in a refund to fans and this year would result in a surcharge, is the fairest of the possible alternatives but we accept, on the basis of the reaction to our recent announcement, that we need to improve our supporters’ understanding of how the system works.
“It was never our intention that we would upset those fans who are amongst our most loyal supporters. Having listened to their feedback, we are announcing on this occasion that we will not ask fans to pay the additional amount due under our season ticket conditions for the game on February 23rd.
“We remain of the view that our approach to our season ticket package of 26 games is the fairest it can be and is designed so that our season ticket holders pay the correct price each season for the matches they watch. However, it is clear that our fans have not been fully aware of the fact that even if we do play 26 games in some years they will get a refund, which happened in 2014/15, whilst in other years they will need to pay extra. This is linked to the teams we draw in the cup competitions.
“The feedback since our communication last night has demonstrated that we need to find a way to create a better understanding for season ticket holders on how their season ticket is structured. We will commit ourselves to communicating this, and the rationale, very clearly to our fans going forward so that there is no such confusion in the future. Work has already started to address this.”
It’s a sharp u-turn from the club, who this morning had backed up their initial decision with a further statement from a club spokesman.
So…a small ‘victory’ in an ongoing war for common sense to be applied to the cost of attending football matches.
Questions remain about how and why such a decision was made in the first place, but for the moment let’s just accept that the club have, finally, done the right thing. On this occasion.