Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Tuesday February 4 2014
Arsenal have given Liverpool a meagre allocation of 5,168 for their fifth round FA Cup tie later this month…
The subject of away ticketing is back in the spotlight after it was announced that Arsenal have given Liverpool just 5,168 tickets for their FA Cup encounter on Sunday 16th February.
That figure equates to only 57% of the possible maximum allocation permitted.
Competition rules state that the away side can be given up to 15% of the home team's stadium capacity. At the Emirates that would have been around 9,000 seats.
By comparison, in round three, Liverpool handed opponents Oldham Athletic 5,755 tickets for their trip to Anfield despite the ground holding 15,000 fewer than Arsenal's.
Coventry City, the Londoners' opponent in the previous round, had access to 8,600 seats for their match at the Emirates, although they declined 3,500 due to fears over a lack of demand.
Unsurprisingly Liverpool had no such concerns and requested the full allocation, only to be rejected by the Gunners primarily on safety grounds.
In particular, the club's Safety Advisory Group, made up of representatives from the club, local authority, police and transport, pointed to the threat of supporters standing in the upper tiers of the stadium.
The news comes just a week after Liverpool supporters were celebrating a minor victory over the cost of tickets for the game.
After much campaigning, and prices upwards of £93 per ticket for November's Premier League encounter, Arsenal designated the cup match as Category B as opposed to the usual A.
Consequently adult fans will be paying a much more palatable £35.50 this time around.
That's if they can get hold of a ticket of course! Which following today's allocation announcement is highly unlikely.
Liverpool supporters' union, Spirit of Shankly, said it found the reasoning behind Arsenal's decision 'absurd'.
A statement on their website read: "We are disappointed at today's announcement that we will only be receiving 5,168 tickets for the forthcoming FA Cup match against Arsenal.
"In our letter to both clubs last week, we made clear that as well as reduced ticket prices and consideration being taken for the impact on supporters travel arrangements with regards to any proposed kick off time, that we wished to be given the full 15% allocation in line with FA rule (21.(a)). This would amount to approximately 9,000 tickets, somewhat higher than the announced allocation.
"As a result, we have immediately re-written to both clubs today to ask them to explain this decision, given the absurdity that a football club can designate an area as being available to away supporters yet then raise fears over potential safety issues.
"If necessary we will seek further information from the local authority, similar to action recently taken by our fellow supporters trust at Tottenham."
SOS's statement sums it up well. The situation is ridiculous and, when you also factor in some of the kick-off times currently being scheduled, fans are increasingly becoming an afterthought in football. A truly sorry state of affairs.
Click here for full info on ticketing for this match
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Date:Tuesday February 4 2014
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