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Ian Ayre response to ticket price reductions

 Last week, after the announcement about reciprocal ticket initiatives at Newcastle, and Manchester City ticket prices being subsidised by player donations, it was clear that some football clubs and the powers that be were beginning to listen. These initiatives followed on from the £200,000 that had been set aside for away supporter initiatives at each club. This shows that the message about ticket prices being too high is being heard and acted upon. Today we have seen that some club’s have taken Newcastle up on their offer, which we would applaud and encourage.

It's clear that with the promotion of these initiatives the previous message from the football cartel and others that nothing could be done is nonsense. It's also clear that it isn’t enough for clubs to act in isolation with individual gestures, and that more can be done across all clubs and leagues. We recently contacted Ian Ayre and Phil Dutton to follow up on our meeting with them earlier in the year on ticket price increases to raise some questions regarding the Newcastle and Manchester City initiatives and to see what Liverpool planned to do next.
 
This is our letter to them:


Dear Ian and Phil,

Obviously a lot has changed since when we last met to discuss ticket prices back in March this year. There was the campaigning and meetings we held in both Liverpool and London with supporters from not just LFC but from across the country. Subsequently there was the demonstration we planned and co-ordinated at the Premier League on 19th June. It’s fair to say that the strength of feeling towards ticket prices has also grown in that time.

As a result of this pressure, the Premier League offered £200,000 to all clubs for away fans initiatives which you have now utilised in a positive step to reduce prices for supporters.

Today, you will no doubt have seen the announcement from Newcastle United about their planned reduction in prices for away tickets to £20 as part of a reciprocal arrangement with any club who offers the same to their supporters when they travel away from home. We’ve also heard today that staff and players at Manchester City have each donated £1,000 to reduce away ticket prices further. You will no doubt recall that at our meeting, you said you felt it needed other clubs to step up and take action and that Liverpool could not be the only ones doing this as you needed to compete. Today’s announcements make clear that other clubs are willing to lead the way and still be able to compete.

With this in mind, and the repeated comments of Richard Scudamore on 19th June and subsequently that it is for clubs to take action, we would like to ask:

1.Will LFC be taking up Newcastle United’s offer of a reciprocal arrangement to charge away fans £20? (We appreciate our match at Newcastle will come before such an agreement but a commitment to do so would show willingness on the part of the club)

2.Will LFC be looking to offer the same reciprocal arrangement to other clubs?

3.Will LFC be looking at any other initiatives to reduce ticket prices for home and away supporters? It would be a great gesture if the club could match the £200,000 from the Premier League and the players as a collective too

We will be following up our initial contact to sponsors to ask them to also contribute as it is important all those who put money into the game, or make money from it, are asked to share this with those who make it the much loved game that it is.

The tide is turning in football – supporters are becoming increasingly aware that changes are possible and can be made to happen. Small steps are being taken in the right direction and we would very much like to see our club do what LFC has done for many years – lead whilst others follow.

We look forward to your response.

Regards
 
James McKenna

Chair

Spirit of Shankly


We have subsequently received this response from Ian Ayre:

 

Dear James

Thanks for your note

As we have indicated previously this type of question needs to be channeled through the official LFC Supporters Committee which is the vehicle we created to act as a consultation group that allows fans questions to be raised and to help shape the club’s future.  I would therefore ask that you to utilise that route – the relevant details can be found on our website.


The official LFC Supporters Committee is an independently elected body of individuals and was established to ensure that the club is interfacing with a single group that represent the wider views of the majority of fans from across all segments of our fan base, rather than the views of individual supporter groups.  For this reason we would encourage all fans to utilise the Supporters’ Committee to make their views known. 

To answer this specific enquiry, I would point out a couple of things that are inaccurate in your note. 

The £200,000 award made by clubs in the Premier League was not allocated because of pressure from fans or fan demonstrations. In fact that matter had already been discussed at Premier League Shareholders meetings before your interaction, which was instigated as a result of a research done by the league on behalf of all clubs that indicated an annual growth in home attendance and a slight decline in away attendance. The clubs collectively decided to sanction an initiative to help promote away support.

Secondly the £200,000 was not “from the Premier League”, it was from each individual club, so we wont be matching our own contribution. What we agreed and voted for as individual clubs was to allocate that amount to any initiative of our choice to support attendance. 

We took this matter to the official LFC Supporters Committee and asked them for their views on how this money could best be utilised to help our fans. As a result we subsequently introduced this initiative which has been widely welcomed. 
We have not seen the offer of Newcastle United FC to reduce prices and we have not received any formal notification from them, but understand it is just something they are currently exploring. 

As I said, we have a very open, healthy and regular dialogue with our Supporters’ Committee on all aspects of ticketing and other matters and will continue to consider all ideas and discuss with them.  Any changes that we make or implement will be as a result of that consultation and we will communicate our decisions via the  committee  and the club’s media channels.

Kind regards

Ian

 
The response from the club is disappointing. Their stance on reciprocal ticketing arrangements could be explored and supported given today’s news and we don't need to, nor should we, wait to see what others are doing. We have an opportunity, with our supporters being at the forefront of this campaign with banners and flags that have raised the profile of this issue to our subsequent march on the Premier League offices, to lead the way in ticket price reductions for supporters. It would seem that the club is at best hesitant and at worst completely against taking positive steps on their own to address this issue for supporters.
 
Whilst the Supporters Committee is something we support and we have recently promoted their election, it’s clear that on this issue the Union has been a leading campaigner for the reduction of ticket prices. This isn’t about us thinking that we should be heard over anyone else – more that the voices of our membership should be heard as well. We’ve responded to the reply from Ian Ayre expressing our disappointment and making clear our position and we have also written to all members of the Supporters’ Committee about this issue. We’ve said that we will encourage our members to contact the Supporters Committee. As a result, we have now put together details of how members can do this and questions they might like to ask their Supporters’ Committee representatives to put to Ian Ayre and the club at the next meeting, which can be found here.


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