A LEADING football supporters’ organisation has called for a public debate into the FA’s ticketing policy after Liverpool’s FA Cup final allocation was announced.
The Reds revealed that they will receive a total of 25,074 tickets for their clash with Chelsea at Wembley on May 5.
The figure is significantly less than the 32,000 the club was given for last weekend’s semi-final with Everton, and with Chelsea set to be handed an identical allocation – though the London club are yet to confirm as such – it means that around 40,000 tickets for the showpiece occasion will be given to ‘Club Wembley’ and members of the FA’s ‘football family’.
This raises fears that such tickets may be sold, at a significantly inflated cost, on the black market.
It has become something of an annual talking point, and Malcolm Clark, chairman of The Football Supporters’ Federation (The FSF), believes it is time for the FA to provide a full breakdown of its ticket allocations, calling upon English football’s governing body to engage with supporters in a more transparent manner.
“It is something we have called for for a number of years now,” said Clark. “What should happen is there should be an open, public debate between the FA and supporters.
“In it, the FA would, or should, we believe, publish a full breakdown of exactly where the tickets go. It seems a fair and reasonable request.
“People do understand where we are coming from, and I am hopeful we can make progress on this front before too long.”
Currently, around 17,000 tickets are allocated to ‘Club Wembley’, an organisation not directly controlled by the FA, with upwards of 22,000 making their way to ‘football family’ members. It is understood that, in addition to tickets allocated to local county football associations and grass-roots football figures, Premier League clubs each receive an allocation of 18 tickets, many of which are at risk of being re-sold on the black market.
Clark said: “Needless to say it is our contention that the allocation of 25,000 tickets per club, for a major cup final involving Liverpool and Chelsea, should be much bigger. These are huge clubs, and we are in a position where season-ticket holders at both clubs will not be guaranteed a cup final ticket.
“We have engaged with the FA on a number of occasions, and their response is always that they are keen to reward volunteers and county officials. But still that doesn’t seem right, and we feel there are other ways of doing so, without causing such disruption to supporters.
“Liverpool, for example, took 32,000 tickets for last weekend’s semi-final, and now they will get 25,000 for the final.
“The figures speak for themselves; almost a quarter of supporters who paid for the semi final will be unable to get a cup final ticket through their club.
“We know, from past experiences, that a lot of the excess tickets will make their way, somehow, into the hands of supporters.
“So why not allow clubs a greater allocation, which they can then distribute in a fairer manner?”
The FA declined to comment on the matter.