For a long time English football clubs – and mainly Arsenal – were heavily criticised throughout Europe for ticket prices.
In 2015, we saw Bayern Munich fans protest at a Champions League game against having to pay £64 for a ticket.
In recent years we have seen things reverse, European clubs charging extortionate amounts for English clubs to visit, and yet the media in England and throughout Europe have been oddly quiet about it.
For the Europa League game between Arsenal and Napoli, Arsenal are charging just £26, meanwhile Napoli are charging visiting fans £53.
We also see Barcelona charging Manchester United fans €120 a ticket – the highest they would have paid for an away game in history outside of finals.
In response, Manchester United are charging Barcelona fans the same – and passing on the extra money to their travelling fans subsidising their away ticket.
We have seen this happen a couple of times in recent years – with both Sevilla and Atletico Madrid hiking up prices for visiting English clubs. On both occasions the English clubs in question also hiked the prices up, and then subsidised the away fans with the profits.
It means that travelling fans of Barcelona, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid ended up subsiding fans of Arsenal, Manchester and Liverpool.
The English travelling fans paid a “fairer” amount, the travelling Spanish fans paid a premium, and the only ones to really benefit were the Spanish club. And we are talking about an additional €150,000 in revenue. Not exactly much in the grand scheme of things!
In the Premier League, clubs have to charge away fans for the same as home fans for the “equivalent area”. So at Arsenal, away fans in the corner of the lower tier pay the same as home fans in the corner of the lower tier.
This pricing rule does not exist in Europe – meaning that European sides hike the prices up looking to profit from visiting English fans.
You often see “fans” of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and other European sides boast about how much more reasonable tickets are on the continent than in England. They are then silent when English fans are ripped off when abroad.
These pricing games only push up ticket prices for fans.
If an Italian club increases their price for visiting English fans, and the English club matches it, the only people to lose out are the Italian fans.
Fans abroad are quick enough to protest against English clubs, but seemingly slow to protest against their own club causing them to pay more.
I wonder if in response Arsenal will charge visiting Napoli fans northwards of £50 and then offer discounts to travelling Arsenal fans?