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FA Cup Final ticket price-hike is scandalous

Monday 23rd April 2018

The price for success, quite literally, for Manchester United and Chelsea supporters is very dear.

The Football Association, in all their usual consummate wisdom, has decided to raise the ticket prices for this year’s FA Cup Final.

It comes as another sorry indictment on the way England’s football governing body is run: without a thought for those who make the game so special - the fans.

This season alone we have seen the deplorable arrogance that stank out the FA’s dealing with Eniola Aluko scandal, the delayed response in sacking Mark Sampson – only brought about after revelations regarding inappropriate behaviour with his players at a former club. There was also a major failure to conduct elementary research in having a cursory look at Twitter when hiring Phil Neville.

Throw in a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Qatar, who will host the 2022 World Cup, while you’re at it. A partnership with a country who imprison political dissenters and those ‘guilty’ of homosexuality, and have some of the most regressive laws across the globe.

Continuing on this path of utter ignorance and dismissal, the FA will starve the PR market of any candidates. They’ll all be frantically mind-mapping in the FA’s ivory tower.

Back the price-hike. The prices for the final are as follows:

Category A: £145

Category B: £115

Category C: £80

Category D: £45

These tickets represent a rise around almost 80%, with a category B ticket for the semi-finals costing £65. For the FA to demand £65 was already an injustice to the waves of loyal supporters, an exploitation of passion. To increase it is egregious.

As one Manchester United supporter pointed out, for the price of a category A ticket, he flew to Sevilla, arranged a hotel and purchased a ticket during United’s doomed knock-out clash with the Spanish side.

Granted, United subsidised their travelling support, reducing the cost of a ticket to £35 after the Spanish club charged £89 – they did so by charging the same to Sevilla fans, with Sevilla then replicating United’s subsidising.

Why they could not lower the ticket prices and save themselves the trouble of organising refunds and investigations was clearly beyond the perception of those in the boardroom.

If this anecdote tells us anything, it is that clubs – not just the FA – are greedily abusing fan loyalty.

After all, for the final on May 19th it will only be the United and Chelsea fans who have racked up the most ‘loyalty points’ – or the equivalent term – who will have the chance to purchase a ticket.

The FA Cup represents a burning opportunity for the Football Association; it can, if they utilise it correctly, restore its majesty and magical connotations. If they were to reduce ticket prices and make it genuinely accessible for the working man and woman, it would perhaps stand a chance of rediscovering its former sanctity.

The FA realise this. They even embrace the opportunity it breeds. Except, they view it through an alternative lens – a prism distorted by gluttony. It is not a chance to celebrate football accessibility and fan fervour, but a corporate gold-mine.

In selling the naming rights to Emirates, the FA signalled a move towards a world of commercial enslavement.

Yet again, though, this could’ve been a chance to reduce the ticket prices for fans in light of added revenue. Typically, any suggestion along these lines were condemned.

The FA, if it maintains its profit-orientated yellow-brick road, risks estranging a whole generation. As long as the Land of Oz glitters in all its resplendent greed, they'll take no heed.

Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97

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