Liverpool - Liverpool: 'Absurd' Arsenal Ticket Allocation
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Liverpool: 'Absurd' Arsenal Ticket Allocation

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."

Vital Verdict
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.

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The Journalist

Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday February 4 2014

Time: 6:10PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Yiddo in peace. Sorry guys but you'll have to get used to this from now on, it's what they do. oddly enough, they had no problem whatsoever allowing over 9000 Chel$ki supporters to go to The Emirates Stadium earlier in the season, and that was a bloody evening game, where people had time to get more pi$$ed up & more opportunity to cause trouble.

They're gutless, and I hope you go there & smash the ***** out of them!!
Report Abuse
04/02/2014 19:19:00

Their reasoning is crazy unless the top tier referred to is going to be closed permanently. Surely our fans are no more, or less, likely to stand than any other clubs (except the passionless home supporters possibly!)
The Bagman
Report Abuse
04/02/2014 20:47:00

Gooner here to add my opinion to the mix!

The problem is that the rule is not clear in that it doesn't give a lower limit just that an away team is entitled to "up to 15%". So that can be anything from 0% to 15% is still within the rules. The host club could technically give the away team 10 tickets and it would not be breaking any FA rules!

It's not pleasant but until the FA clarify the rules by adding a lower limit this will constantly happen.

Galway Gooner
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 08:52:00

Section 21. (a) of the FA Cup rules: "In all matches preceding the Semi-Finals, the Visiting Club shall have the right to claim up to 15% of all accommodation for which tickets are issued providing these tickets are in a fully segregated area"
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 09:29:00

Thanks Big Red - was looking for the exact wording of the rule in question... As I though the choice is down to the away club on how much of the allocation they take up and not the home side.
The Bagman
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 09:31:00

Bagman - that's not fully true. If the home club cannot give them tickets in a non-segregated area then they can reduce the quantity to what ever level they want. So Liverpool ca a for 15% (9000) tickets but Arsenal can come back and say that we cannot give you 9000 full segregated tickets, the best we can do is 5000, or 1000 or even 1 and still not have broken any rules.

I think in the league away teams are entitled to a minimum of 5% up to 3500 tickets so many clubs have their stadium setup so that 5% (or 3500 seats) are segregated. The FA Cup has different away ticketing rules/guidelines.

There is also a get out clause at the end which says that the game board can vary they tickets allocated should they see fit (such as based on police or transport issues).

Galway Gooner
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 10:00:00

But there is clearly a 9000-segregated area available as it has been issued to other clubs on many previous occasions - Arsenal are not even clamining it to be a segregation issue. The reason the request for a full allocation has been turned down, as with Spurs in round 3, is on safety grounds and primarily the potential for supporters standing. Nothing to do with being unable to segregate such a number.
The Bagman
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 10:39:00

The previous game you were referring to is I assume the Chelsea game which was in the CC cup, I don't know but I'd guess that the CC cup mightn't fall under the club season ticket so not as many seats may have been effectively reserved so the segregation issue may not apply.

As far as I'm aware Arsenal haven't broken any rules here and are perfectly entitled, in FA law, to accept or refuse Liverpool's request for tickets based on either safety concern or the segregation issue.

This comes up pretty much every season in the FA cup if Arsenal draw a big team and every year its the same outcome. Away clubs are entitled to ask and the home clubs are entitled to approve or deny. You can be pretty sure that all clubs (and I'm including Liverpool and Spurs in this) have played cup games at home in the past where they allocated less than the 15% to away support.

But don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant eh?


Galway Gooner
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 10:51:00

Indeed :-)
The Bagman
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 12:27:00

Galway - ~You made the same pathetic argument on Vital Spurs, when your club shat all over our supporters. The FACT is, there was no issue whatsoever allowing Chel$ki to bring over 9000 supporters to your library, for a late kick-off and a 'London derby'. So there is absolutely NO REASON for the restriction for our game, or for the game against Liverpool. Hopefully both of our clubs (Liverpool & THFC) return the favour, and state that we have no desire to have your supporters at our stadiums. Gutless French surrender monkey basterds!!
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 15:20:00

More on this story at the football supporters federation
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 15:27:00

Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham supporters groups have come together to criticise the Gunners for reducing the ticket allocation for away fans for FA Cup ties at the Emirates.

Source: Evening Standard

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Black Scarf Movement, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust and Spirit of Shankly are furious over the ticketing for Arsenal’s third-round tie with Tottenham and next week’s fifth-round match with Liverpool.

Competition rules state away fans should be given 15 per cent of the stadium — 9,050 seats — but Arsenal gave Spurs and Liverpool only 5,186 tickets each while fourth-round opponents Coventry were offered 8,686.

Arsenal say the decision was made on the advice of their Safety Advisory Group “due to fears over safety issues from supporters standing in the upper tiers of the stadium”. The group consist of representatives from the club, Metropolitan Police, local authority and transport.

However, in October Arsenal granted Chelsea the full 9,000 tickets for their League Cup fourth-round tie and that game passed without any crowd trouble.

And now four fan organisations have questioned the decision regarding the FA Cup ties, asking six questions of the club including why a stadium that opened in 2006 can consider the upper tiers safe for home fans but not for away supporters in some circumstances.

They have also asked how the club can be granted a safety certificate if the ground is unsafe for some supporters in the upper tier — and how Arsenal can stage concerts in the off-season where fans are routinely seen dancing in the top level.

Marc Harold of the Black Scarf Movement told Standard Sport: “Fans are sick of being treated as if they don’t matter, especially when supporters at games are an integral part of football. We support Spirit of Shankly, as if the shoe was on the other foot, we’d be understandably upset at having a reduced ticket allocation. Effective stewarding and policing should ensure fan safety — so to take the easy option and cut an allocation on an assumption of how many fans may behave only serves to ensure thousands of loyal fans miss out on watching their team.

“As Spirit of Shankly say, would Coventry fans be better behaved than fans of Liverpool?”

Darren Alexander, joint chairman of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, said: “It can only be a good thing when supporters put aside petty rivalries and work for common interests and goals.

“Previously petty rivalries have stopped us from working together and that has worked in the football authorities’ best interests.

“I have heard from our fans that objects were thrown at them [during the FA Cup game] such as glass bottles, lighters and cups of urine, which is not nice.

“We have spoken to the Premier League about this, where if away teams don’t take their full allocation then that block should go unsold.”

Arsenal and the Football Association have come under fire this season over the kick-off and pricing for these matches, with the Spurs game beginning at 5.15pm on a Saturday, Coventry at 7.45pm on a Friday and the Liverpool clash set to start at 4pm a week on Sunday.

Arsenal changed the Liverpool match to a Category B game, meaning tickets for away supporters and some home fans were priced at £35.50 for adults, compared with £62 for the clash with Spurs.

But the supporters organisations are not satisfied.

“The FA Cup has always been heralded as one of the most esteemed competitions in world football,” a statement released by the four groups said. “It would appear the FA and the participating clubs do not hold the competition in the same regard as the fans.”
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 15:27:00

Coops - you have some anger related issues mate, you should really go and talk to someone (ad I don't mean me) about it.

I'm not making any arguments for or against Arsenal's stance I'm just stating fact and how those facts relate to the FA law. Personally I think the FA should just step in an insist on a lower % limit and it would solve all these type of problems.

Regarding us "gutless, French surrender monkey basterds" you speak off, the fact that I am now having this discussion on a Liverpool forum is because we are still in the Cup as opposed to lot.

Looking forward to completing the treble over you this season in Marcn, you'd want to get those anger issues resolved by then!


Galway Gooner
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 15:31:00

No anger issues here, sweetheart. Just a total dislike for the lack of respect that your club appears to have for certain clubs. It's no surprise that you can't see any wrong in it, wouldn't want any pesky supporters making any noise in that stadium of yours now, would we!!
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 15:51:00

Coops - last season Liverpool had the loudest average noise level (measured in decibels) in the league. Poor old Arsenal were 11th, not bad but not great. And Spurs?? 14th or 15th.

But again don't let the facts get in the way of a good argument eh?

Galway Gooner
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 16:28:00

Glad to see various supporters clubs and unions getting together to pursue the issue. Away ticketing, whether it be cost or allocation, is certainly something that needs further discussion and greater clarity.
The Bagman
Report Abuse
05/02/2014 17:24:00


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