‘Morally unjustifiable’ - Liverpool announce new ticket prices
Supporters group say it’s ‘a missed opportunity for LFC to lead in a fairer approach’
The construction of Anfield’s new Main Stand. Photograph: Getty Images
Liverpool’s new ticket price structure has been described as “morally unjustifiable” by its own supporters committee after it was announced some seats in the rebuilt Main Stand will cost €101 next season.
The Anfield club announced on Tuesday a range of new ticketing measures to be introduced from the start of the 2016-17 season when the €150m Main Stand will increase the stadium capacity to around 54,000. These include local fans having priority access to over 20,000 tickets across the Premier League season - with prices starting from €11 - and 1,000 tickets over the season given free to local children through a ‘Young Fan Initiative’ scheme.
Accessibility and affordability for young and local supporters were just two issues raised during 13-months of consultation with the Ticket Working Group, part of the official Liverpool Supporters Committee. However, the LSC, an elected group established in the wake of Fenway Sports Group’s takeover in 2010, has strongly condemned the overall ticket structure announced by the club.
“The outcome is extremely disappointing and a missed opportunity for LFC to lead in a fairer approach to ticket prices,” read a statement. “After months of time and effort, meetings and debate of ideas and plans to lower supporters’ costs, the owners have chosen to increase prices for many. In the context of the huge income rises the club will receive next year, to up their revenue from fans through season and match-day tickets is both unnecessary and morally unjustifiable.
“At a time of ever increasing commercial and media revenues, the club’s reliance on ‘general-admission’ returns is diminishing, and this is a lost opportunity for LFC to begin the reversal of the effects of inflation-busting prices that have forced out many loyal fans over recent years. We had hoped to find a solution to better accessibility to Anfield for younger and future generations through reduced ticket prices.
“We began our engagement with the club in a spirit of cooperation and a willingness to compromise. To give the process the best chance of success we presented ideas and agreed to their requests for confidentiality, agreeing a Terms of Reference by which we have abided. Our proposals going into the negotiation were as follows: 1. At least 70 per cent of the ground to be paying an affordable price (€40 in our view); 2. An end to match categorisation and; 3. Increases in the number of young supporters inside Anfield.
“We believe it is right and fair to lower ticket prices in order to sustain our support and subsequently the atmosphere inside Anfield. Unfortunately, the decisions of the ownership are based purely on economics with no compromise. They have tried to frame the debate from the view that ticket prices as they stand are fair and that their planned rises somehow supports this fairness. This is an unsustainable argument being put by the owners. Fairness is not making more money than ever before from supporters.
“There will be some new initiatives, but the major issues of ticket cost and categorisation remain unresolved, unappreciated by the owners and a further setback for loyal supporters trying to afford to watch their team play.”
Liverpool argue that 64 per cent of season ticket prices will decrease or freeze, ranging from €903 to €1357 for a season ticket, and 45 per cent of matchday tickets will cost less. There will also be an extra 20,000 tickets allocated across a Premier League season for fans aged between 17 and 21.
The club’s chief executive, Ian Ayre, said: “We always carefully consider ticket pricing to ensure the long term sustainability and competitiveness of the Club while listening to the views of our match-going fans to understand the priorities around accessibility and affordability.
“The feedback has been clear that having more local and young people at Anfield is a priority and we are delighted to be launching these new ticketing initiatives. The redevelopment of our Main Stand and increased capacity has given us flexibility to freeze or reduce more than half of all tickets across the stadium which is reflected in our longer term plan to give fans more choice on what price they pay to attend a game.
“We would like to thank our fans in the ticket working group for their commitment, engagement, cooperation and time throughout this process. There was agreement from the start that compromise was essential in working together to find solutions to increase accessibility and affordability of tickets. We recognise the incredible importance of ticket pricing to our match-going fans and we take the responsibility very seriously in determining pricing at Anfield. We are excited about our new Main Stand opening and look forward to welcoming 8,500 additional fans to Anfield next season to support the team.”