It doesn’t take a genius to determine that a major increase in football ticket prices is going to become a deterrent for even the most faithful of fans. Recently, the spike in charges has been a popular bone of contention, with many leagues receiving flack for harbouring teams demanding mammoth attendance costs.
It is absolutely fair that supporters speak out and voice their opinions about what is, essentially, a sport-wide modern day travesty; fans, no matter, who their teams are, should be able to enjoy viewing their boys in action first-hand. Going to the football is something of a tradition for many. Irrespective of the countries that football-goers reside in, it has not been too difficult, generally, for supporters to source tickets for certain games, whether home or away.
As a child, I used to have the privilege of going to watch my ‘native’ team, Southampton, play. I generally went with my school football team; my coach, head teacher and other teaching assistants (all football enthusiasts, of course) would chaperone us – a gaggle of A-team footballing girls – to St. Mary’s, and we would imagine how incredible it would be to perform on such a large scale, in front of such an audience. That particular audience might appear rather different and distorted in both shape and size if ticket prices were to really soar.
A small disclaimer here is that I don’t head off to matches anymore, notably because I don’t live in Southampton these days. However, if I did want to attend any game, I would not want it to cost the earth. For fathers/mothers and sons/daughters (delete, insert, alter as applicable), best mates, work colleagues, girlfriends dragged along against their will, and so forth, the old rituals will become tiresome and expensive; instead of fun days out being fairly easy at the football, the mere thought will become a treat.
The very sniff of the association between football and its overarching luxury price tag is enough to send shivers, not least because the weekly wages of even the most mediocre, alleged stars are utterly barbaric. So, the whole issue with tickets is simply going to open another can of worms, if rumours persist.
The skyrocketing of prices has been brought to the forefront of late. The BBC outlined a few costs per game and for season tickets around the world’s divisions and some of the figures are gobsmacking. It is important to broadcast these denominations, because football has evolved into the sort of sport that most people enjoy, without class distinctions being hinted at too much.
The bottom line is: it doesn’t matter what a person’s income is, it should not be so ridiculously priced just to see your team play. (I say this also as someone who has witnessed their team lose a few, so you don’t want the pleasure to be a waste of time and money).
As mildly humorous and well-orchestrated as some of the recent protests have been, fans are making a point. The £77 fee that the Liverpool owners flirted, for instance, was, bluntly, nuts. I’m not saying that fees should be as low/favourable as £10, but they ought to be fair. That is the point: fairness. £77 is certainly enough to see many of the Anfield crowd packing.
Similarly, last night saw members of Borussia Dortmund pick up tennis balls from the pitch. Despite the side winning against Stuttgart, their fans we eager to vocalise their problems with recent prices, floating banners reading ‘football should be affordable’ to showcase their opinions. Again, this sort of reaction is natural and justified, but throwing items of any description onto the pitch is obviously not the best idea.
The trouble, in the UK at least, is that the FA apparently do not wish to step in. The association’s position is that this is an issue between club owners and fans. Although that is a point worth noting, a large sporting body could hold enough might to at least weigh in with a few stern thoughts. When owners could fill their stadiums with rich, established, affluent investors as well as friendly football fans willing to stump up the asking price, then there is not the immediate need to find a pleasing middle-ground. In the long run, though, this strategy would alter football for the worse, and deny eager supporters of a rather basic, generally affordable right to cheer on their teams.
The chief point is that fans should be able to pay reasonable prices for both day and season tickets. It just isn’t good sport to expect £77 or similar.