Arsenal back down on Barca ticket surcharge

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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.

84 COMMENTS

    • That is very probably true, and season ticket holders will still have a bitter taste in their mouths, but it’s much better now than if they had not backtracked. Credit where credit’s due.

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      • gouging a set of passive fans on the basis that they can afford it appears to be the default position for our club

        a lot of us would have at one time taken pride in the fact that the arsenal used to have a reputation for being a class above the rest – from putting out flowers in the boardroom in the colours of the visiting club to the doorman at the marble halls, the club blazers, all that. silly, but you take what pride you can.

        and this kind of cowboy bollocks? no fucking credit due. shouldn’t have happened. certainly shouldn’t have happened at the arsenal. the classiest thing about our club these days is the manager, and a decent minority of people claiming to be fans hate his guts. what a shame, really. still, progress, i suppose. of a sort.

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        • Naaaah… That minority of fans don’t “hate his guts”, we just think he’s no longer competent, and it’s time for a change.

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  1. It’s a worry that they thought this would be acceptable in the first place. Frankly if they want to charge more for my season ticket that is fine, it is their prerogative and my decision if I want to keep paying for it. I don’t abide people that whinge when prices go up. Earn more or spend your money on something else, there will always be people willing to pay more. Putting prices up retrospectively never leaves a good taste in the mouth and on that front AFC were taking the piss.

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    • I think it’s a real shame when fans are priced out of football. I’m a season ticket holder thats work in an industry full of corporate emirates tickets, some proper wands get to go whenever they want. Fans’ money just goes into a system that shouldn’t need any more.

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    • The problem, as the club admit, was the poor way this was handled. But it wasn’t “putting up prices retrospectively”.

      If you read your season ticket condtions, you’ll see that basing ticket prices on the quality of the opposition has been club policy for a while (can’t remember how long). Did you complain about the refund last year? No, I don’t suppose you did.

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      • I wasn’t aware of a refund last year. My point is that the price of the season ticket should be set regardless of who we end up playing. I would prefer it to be higher overall than for them to tell us they are charging £30 because we happen to be playing Barcelona. If you pored over the Ts and Cs when you bought your season ticket that’s great, most people don’t. If I tell any of my clients I am hitting them with a charge because I am entitled to under the terms of our contract it does not go down well, you have to communicate it properly – Arsenal did not. If you pay a set amount for a season ticket and you believe you are getting a set number of games any additional charges will feel retrospective if they have not been imposed previously.

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  2. Still haven’t forgotten the way the club raised (and poorly defended after sharp criticism from fans and the media) the £3 million for services provided by Kroenke and his cronies, a few years ago.

    Embarrassing.

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  3. A better statement would be “sorry for acting like greedy twats”.

    A more realistic statement would be “sorry we got caught acting like greedy twats”.

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    • The part of the sentence “the way it was communicated” easily translates into: “We were actually foing something good, but we had problems telling you, so that’s why we came through as greedy. Not that it was greedy in the first place.”

      I think it’s shameful, not only because of the raise in price, but also because it implies that the fanbase is stupid for not being able to see the perfect sense of it all.

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  4. I’ve had a season for years and as I walked to work this morning I thought that’s it, you have taken the piss for the last time. I’m not renewing, fuck em. Glad they have given in to a great response. Using the words of Roger Waters football will amuse itself to death.

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  5. The system is a joke anyway..

    When we have 8 games, they’ll charge the 8th as a ‘Category A game’ if it’s champions league.

    If we have six games, they’ll refund us on an average price of a ticket as opposed to it being an ‘A’ game.

    How much do they want to turn the screw

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    • Well let’s be serious if the 8th and 9th are the quarter and semi final of the champions league I want to pay…..

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    • I feel sorry for you. I think this is one aspect where I can’t really be empathetic about, as the most I’m involved in is watching on tele and probably buying merchandises at most. And even then I have the urge to make it count, make the club know I’m not supporting them financially when they’re trying to rip the fans off (although as I said I’m much less affected than the season ticket holders). Which makes me wonder if the ticket holders themselves make a statement that would really send a signal. Transfer windows this season has been abysmal, the team looks like they’re doing the same shit the last 10 years, and yet the stadium fills itself up almost every match day. No wonder they’re ripping us off at every opportunity.

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  6. Without wishing to brown my nose too much, your (Blogs’) comments on this ludicrous decision this morning will have played no small part in making the club backtrack. Thank you for standing up for common sense, fairness and the people (us, the fans) that actually allow a football club to exist.

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  7. They haven’t done the right thing. They wrote a condescending statement blaming fans for not understanding ticket policies instead of accepting they did something moronic and should be getting rid of mid-season surcharges permanently.

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    • the reply they gave to AISA was the same as the email they sent ST holders – our supporters don’t understand our system, last year money back, blah blah blah

      I certainly don’t expect any kind of response to the email I sent apart from a copy and paste of the same.

      i suppose if we were liverpool fans we’d agree to walk out in the 1,052nd minute

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  8. The impression I got from the e mail is that because they lost out last year they saw an oppurtunity to make up for it. It massively backfired on them. It leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth and I’m seriously considering wether I want to renew my season ticket.

    Not that anyone at the club gives a F*ck what I think

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    • The problem is that they don’t need to care, because nothing is going to stop the money rolling in and that is what seems to resonate with them these days. What I don’t get is that would only be worth about half a million (Walcott’s monthly salary?). Assuming they actually pay some sort of tax (I know, I am naive) that would be even less

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  9. Haven’t been since we left Highbury, that bollox about competing with the biggest teams in the world for signings….oh dear..

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  10. It’s not really a come down though is it. I mean how fucking condescending is that statement. Basically saying:
    “We’re sorry none of you can read the terms of our contract, but because you’re all angry on this super special occasion we will do you a special deal”

    They are utterly out of touch with the fan base and it’s depressing

    I’ve been on the season ticket waiting list for 12 years. Now placed 5000 ish. I expect an offer this summer for definite and for sure if we don’t win the league this year, given he circumstances, I’m out. Someone else can have it. Even if we do win, I need to buy 2 tickets. 2000 to support this lack of basic respect?…

    That opinions not motivated by greed or glory hunting, that’s motivated in the fact we have both stolen from the fans and failed to win an incredibly winnable league. The board and Kronke need to learn a lesson here, the sad thing is I’m not sure us little people can really do a damn thing… Someone else will take my two spots, I’ll go back to the end of the queue, not get a ticket for a decade and nothing will change

    Sigh

    I have no real point, it’s just fucking depressing.

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  11. Did anyone (including the blogger) read the statement?
    ““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…”

    It’s quite depressing that they have had to appease people who are “confused”, i.e. haven’t read or understood the terms of their season ticket. I notice the ST-holders weren’t up in arms when they got their refund a couple of years ago under the same system.

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    • No, last season they didn’t try to produce done contrived vbullshit about different category games and how that can incur in season costs. We pay by end May and don’t get any benefit until early August. How about taking that into account? We fund the business for 2.5 months with no benefit whatsoever. If you were a season ticket holder you might have a fucking clue…..

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  12. I don’t really get all this, does it cost the club extra if Barca come to play instead of Hull? Do the Barca players have a list of extra requirements that Hull don’t? All the blue M&M’s removed from their half time sweet bowl or some shit?

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    • Demand.

      People want to see them play Barcelona far more, it’s pretty obvious they’ll charge more knowing that they’ll have enough buyers.

      That might sound wrong, but that’s how just about every business (even football clubs) work, not just Arsenal.

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      • Is it a business…or is it a sports club which has people who support them and watch them play?
        If it’s a business then they are already in advertising, what product do you get?

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      • A quick look to the bundesliga shows you how wrong you are, and how some clubs still know how to treat their fans. Not that I’m expecting Arsenal to charge as much as a bundi team, but our tickets are the most expensive in football as things stand, to have the nerve and ask for more?!
        That’s just blatant extortion.

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  13. Fuck em, we should all boycott the game anyway. It’s on tv do who gives a shit. This might make the ownership understand we can’t just be fucked with like American sports fans.

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    • As an American, thank you. We all just accept this stuff over here. It’s good to see the “little guy” can win once in awhile. If only this made the US national news, it might inspire us to try the same! (So of course it won’t!!)

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      • Wasn’t trying to be pejorative about the US. Just if we don’t make a stand now, we will be moved towards the kind of subservient, servile model owners like Kroenke abuse in the US. Act now or all is lost.

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  14. Just don’t go. I haven’t paid to go to an Arsenal match since 2008. How can I justify paying that sort of money to watch football to my family. It’s turned me into an armchair fan but I don’t care as that is all I can afford.

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  15. Good decision by the club. But hasn’t it always been this way with season tickets? You get all the league home games (19) and 7(?) home cup credits. If we have more than 7 they add it on next seasons renewal , if we have less they refund you. I’m not sticking up for the club here as I think it’s way too expensive as it is, but hasn’t it always been like this?

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  16. “…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.”

    So it’s the fans’ fault

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  17. “We accept that we need to improve our supporters’ understanding of how the system works, just as soon as we have actually worked this out.”

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  18. Regardless of whether this was caused by the supporters’ misunderstanding of the policy their response to the backlash is petty and condescending.

    Whilst treating the fans as ‘customers’ perhaps they should take not of the phrase ‘the customer is always right’. But then again, the laws of supply and demand don’t really work where football clubs are concerned as they know fans will still pay to go, no matter how badly they’re treated – it’s not like they’re going to find an alternative is it?

    If this statement went through the PR department I think the club needs to seriously assess the performance and personnel involved in that part of the organisation.

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  19. I don’t personally get the ill feeling towards the club in this particular scenario. Yes, have a go about us paying the highest prices in wirld football – way too high. Of course it is. Yes, if you really feel it’s true, have a go about us not spending enough on player recruitment – it’s getting better but probably still not where it should be. But on this occasion the club has followed its policy and still backed down at the earliest opportunity. I’d actually see this as a victory for fans and the club coming together. Obviously there’s lots more work to be done, but thus is a good step. Just my two pennies worth.

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  20. Not being a season ticket owner myself with absolutely zero chance of ever being one I’d opine that John Terry is still a c*nt.

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  21. Broadening the discussion: Has the club given any explanation / apology for twice having to postpone the release of tickets to silver members? Surely the demand can’t be so much higher than normal to cause the website to crash?

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  22. This mentality isn’t new.

    I was on the waiting list for a season ticket for Highbury for almost ten years just before the move, when they tried to charge me fifteen quid just to stay on the list. That’s when I said fuck it.

    Love the Arsenal, love football, but the corporate money hungry sluts that have turned the game into a farcical circus make me sicker than the thought of Having a threesome with John Terry & PHIL Collins.

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  23. The sensible thing would have been to have left this till the end of the season and included the extra charge in the renewal cost with a non condescending explanation!!!

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  24. I wonder how much it costs Liecester City fans to watch their EPL title winning season, and whether their management will, next year, raise prices due to them being one of the leading clubs in the world. It’s unjustified. Bundesliga. There’s a lot of luck in football, the last 20 years has not been entirely due to revenue growth, but the luck of having a chap make good decisions on/off field with players.

    Good luck to Liverpool fans with their protest.

    They’ll end up killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Fans are everything.

    Sorry I waffled.

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    • I’d be surprised if the prices don’t rise for Leicester next season. They are a business, same as Arsenal.

      Still, if anyone is not renewing thier ticket, is there anyway you could get it to me so I can jump a few places in the queue?

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  25. Kroenke will continue to do anything he can to get every last penny from us. Every fan must remain vigilant and proactive.

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    • Krone (ke) spell checker wrong! Anyhow, He is a money grabbing ignoramus willing to squeeze the last breath out of the AFC and their loyal fans. Could we unite and make some kind of a Co Operative and buy him out. That way we could avoid similar situations….And furthermore we could have a voice and a vote that counts.

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  26. I have no problem at all with the concept of additional/refund charges for games, it is more the arbitrary way in which categorisation of games occurs.

    The fact that Sunderland as a league game was Category C but as a Cup game became Category B was unacceptable.

    It used to be the case that matches were declared at the outset of the season for category, now we have to wait and see as suits them.

    I am pleased that they have reversed the decision but am already concerned that increased Premier League payments will solely be diverted to players/board rather than supporters. This in addition to late changes in fixtures and moves next season to Friday football rise questions as to whether supporters are now secondary and if the season ticket is a worthwhile investment.

    As a season ticket holder since the first issue of standing season tickets, and the holder of two fairly pointless North Bank Bonds, maybe I deserve some consideration too.

    With Bayern season tickets around one tenth of ours and still consistently a better team, there must be some lesson to learn. £billions being paid to average players and greedy owners will end up killing our game.

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