*UPDATE ON PREMIER LEAGUE MEETING REGARDING TICKET PRICES*
On Wednesday 14 January 2015 members of the HF met with Richard Scudamore (Chief Executive, Premier League), Cathy Long (Head of Supporter Services) and Stephen Browett (Palace Co-Chairman). The meeting focused on the issue of match ticket prices and followed on from our protest outside Premier League HQ on Saturday 20 December. We find it important to share a brief summary of this meeting and show a level of transparency to all football supporters regarding the topic of ticket prices. This is now being seriously looked at by people at the top of the Premier League pyramid as a result of supporter action.
The Premier League is a private company owned by 20 shareholders (the Chairmen of the Premier League clubs). These shareholders meet at regular intervals during the season to discuss the proposal and implementation of new rules. No new rule, such as cheaper match tickets, will be accepted unless 14 clubs vote in favour. This is why it is crucial that supporters of every club put pressure on their respective Chairmen before the next shareholder meeting.
One of the main topics of our lengthy meeting focussed on the current £200K fund that has recently been set aside by each club and is intended to be used “to make games more affordable for away fans”. While some may say this is a very small step in the right direction, we made it clear to Scudamore and everybody else at the meeting that we found this small sum of money to be an insult to supporters. We discussed at length our idea to bring this figure up to a minimum of £1million per club per season so that the money could actually make a substantial difference in lowering ticket prices. We also stressed the importance of the direction in which this money would be spent, i.e. on bringing the costs of match tickets down, and to avoid some of the current spending on trivial matters such as hot dog vouchers.
We also discussed the upcoming 2016-19 Premier League TV deal that is rumoured to be worth in excess of £7billion in total, a potentially massive increase on the current £5.9billion deal. Our proposal is that 1% of the total TV deal should be transferred to a supporter fund that would be distributed equally between each club, similar to the current £200K fund, to reduce and subsidise the cost of match tickets. When calculated, the figures showed that this sum of money would reduce the average Premier League away match ticket by more than 50% for every travelling supporter for every away game, an idea so beneficial to supporters that it’s impossible to ignore.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Scudamore made it clear that he could not make any specific promises at that moment in time. However, the promise we did get was that the issue of ticket prices would be on the agenda at the February shareholders meeting. We are under no illusion that the prospect of getting 14 Chairmen to vote in favour of lowering ticket prices will be an easy accomplishment; but we feel positive that the ticket price issue is gaining momentum and it is becoming harder for Chairmen to carry on ripping off supporters and for the league to allow them to do so. Judging by the contact we have had from various supporter groups across the league, we are confident that if future protests are needed there will be action from a united front.