It is not often we praise the club for sticking up for the rights of fans and doing the right thing. It is probably because the club almost never does it. More than happy to toe the Premier League / FA line and hide behind the ‘our hands are tied, it’s not our decision’ excuse. But over the last few months, the club has been fighting for fans rights. And today it has been rejected by the FA.
After back to back FA Cups where thousands of season ticket holders were unable to obtain tickets, the club petitioned the FA to make more available.
As it currently stands, each side in the final gets 23,000 tickets. The other 45,000 are set aside for Club Wembley holders (basically Wembley season ticket holders who get a ticket for every event). Also every club who entered the FA Cup gets tickets, as well as referees, sponsors and county football officials. Tickets to the so called ‘football family’.
Over the years, it is clear that the majority of the tickets for the football family end up being touted on twitter & Facebook. Last year we saw 18 year old girls with no interest in football selling pairs of tickets asking for over £1,000 for them. How did they get these tickets? Are they really members of the football family? Clearly they had been given them by a family member and have decided to fund their holiday to Ibiza by screwing football fans. It is not right.
It should not be hard for the FA to track down who supplied these tickets. And they should then punish whoever handed them over by ensuring they or their club never get tickets for the FA Cup Final again. But the FA choose not too.
Anyway, this morning we wake to some disappointing news.
Despite the campaigning by Arsenal, and backing by many other clubs, the proposal to get more tickets to real fans has been rejected by National Game (the amateur arm of the FA) directors on the FA board.
23,000 tickets go to the football family. Distributed by the National Game. According to their own study, 10% of these tickets were returned for the 2015 final. 25% of the FA councillor’s personal allocation was also handed back.
Whether these tickets were handed back by people as they wanted tickets to be redistributed to the clubs at the final, or whether it is because they just could not be bothered to go / sell their tickets online, it is clear that too many tickets go to non-supporters of the clubs in the final, only to end up in the hands of supporters at higher prices.
It is disappointing that peoples own greed have got in the way of getting a better deal for real fans. The game is screwed from the top down. It is clear that no one, from clubs to the authorities really care about the game. They care about what they can get out of the game.
An Arsenal spokesman said: “Whether or not we reach the FA Cup final, we feel strongly that as many supporters as possible of the two teams should enjoy the big day.”
In 2016, if Arsenal do not make the final, I would like to see us hand the tickets over that we get for the final to the clubs who have made the final. We need to do the right thing, even if those around us are not.