FSF announces ticket price cap plan
The Premier League can easily accommodate an initiative to limit away fans tickets at £20 to protect the "spectacle" of its product, according to the chief executive of the Football Supporters' Federation Kevin Miles.
Chairmen of English football's 20 elite clubs met in central London on Wednesday for the first time since the bumper new £5.14billion television broadcasting deal was announced.
The FSF presented an open letter to the chairmen, which was co-signed by fan groups from every Premier League club, detailing what it believes are key elements such as the cost of attending live matches, facilities for away fans, more supporter engagement as well a fairer distribution of football's wealth throughout the domestic game and grassroots.
Ticket prices have long been a thorny issue within the modern game, particularly for the away supporters, who often feel they are not being given a fair price especially those of the leading clubs.
A recent survey by the FSF showed the likes of Arsenal's top price for visiting supporters was £64, QPR charged £55 while Sunderland were cheapest at £39. Crystal Palace charged both home and away fans £40 at Selhurst Park.
FSF chief executive Miles believes making such a gesture would not only show a level of good will to paying customers, but also maintain the unique live atmosphere which makes the Premier League such an attractive proposition.
"The uplift on domestic television rights alone, not including the overseas deal, is the equivalent of more than £40 for every single ticket sold at each game over the three years, so that gives you an idea of how much manoeuvre the clubs have got - and with that much money going into the game, how they could afford to treat people a lot better," Miles told Press Association Sport.
"The Premier League has already set one or two precedents, there are already rules to benefit away fans, like how many seats they have to allocate in the stadium and how they cannot charge away fans more than the home fans for similar accommodation.
"They also ring-fence money via the 'Away Fans Initiative' to be invested into increasing numbers of away fans.
"What we are proposing out of this huge increase in money is they increase the amount of money involved."
Miles continued: "Our 'Twenty's Plenty' idea to be implemented, we believe would cost the clubs around £20million a season, which is £1million per club, then talk to the fans about how they want that money used, it could make a huge difference to the experience of away support.
"They could make this contribution easily and relatively cheaply, to guarantee the atmosphere with participation of away fans to keep their numbers up, which have declined over the last 10 years and that is something which needs to be addressed."
Miles believes any moves to increase the travelling supporters at all Premier League stadia could only have a positive impact.
"Part of the reason the Premier League is able to generate so much money for the television rights is precisely because of the whole atmosphere and spectacle. It would be short-sighted to think it is just all about what happens on the pitch," he said.
"The battle is sometimes you have to convince the clubs that it is in their best interest as well as ours, and stress the importance of what fans contribute to what they are selling.
"The Premier League did a survey of television audiences in Thailand when they were looking at overseas matches, what they found was actually fans did not want to see Manchester United against Liverpool in Bangkok, they would love the chance to go to Anfield or Old Trafford to witness the real thing.
"So there are signs the Premier League are starting to look at these things and recognise the importance of it."