Open letter to the FA regarding FA Cup away allocations and Cup final ticket distribution from Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust, Arsenal Supporters' Trust, Chelsea Supporters' Trust and Spirit of Shankly.
Director of Football Services
Thank you for taking the time earlier this year to meet with us to discuss the FA Cup and take on board the views of supporters on matters that affect them relating to the staging of the competition.
At this meeting the AST, CST, SoS and THST all reiterated their support for the FA Cup and its importance within the English football calendar. We relayed to you how the FA Cup was, and can still be, a wonderful competition that delivers special moments for football fans. All four Trusts present stressed their wish to see the FA Cup thrive.
You explained that you were shortly to undertake a review of the FA Cup and we will be liaising with other Trusts and the wider football supporters’ movement to make submissions to this which will cover important issues such as atmosphere, pricing and the timing of FA Cup games.
We are writing now, ahead of the third round draw, to stress the importance of two issues:
· The rule that requires a 15% ticket allocation to fans of the team drawn away
· The distribution of tickets to fans of teams who have reached the Cup Final
15% allocation to Away Fans
One of the magic ingredients of the FA Cup is that more away fans attend games than in the Premier League. This helps distinguish the Cup from the Premier League games and gives the matches a special atmosphere. An FA Cup away day is often the highlight for supporters over an entire season.
All four of our groups urge the FA to uphold their rule that 15% of a ground’s capacity are given to visiting fans and also promote the importance of this rule to Clubs.
We understand that there is increasing intervention of Safety Advisory Groups in allocations given to away fans and the decisions that they are making about capacity allocations that affect away fans at both Premier League and FA Cup games. We are keen to see more accountability applied to these arrangements and more pressure placed on Clubs to make suitable arrangements to comply with the 15%.
FA Cup Final Ticket Allocation
None of us believe that the current way of distributing FA Cup final tickets is fair to the fans of the two teams who reach the Final with just 50,000 being allocated to be distributed between the Clubs competing.
This is a result of a historical policy decision that tickets are distributed to the ‘Football Family’ – those who volunteer in various roles at the grassroots of the game.
The four groups present support efforts to recognise and reward volunteers but suggest that it would be more appropriate for the football family to be awarded with tickets for England games and other promotions, and advised that the current policy saw too many supporters of the Club who reached the final driven onto the touting market.
We hope that this policy will be reviewed and more can be done to encourage those in the football family to return tickets to be sold to fans of the competing Clubs.
The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST), Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST), Spirit of Shankly (SoS) and Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST)
Cc; Graham Noakes