World Consumer Rights Day: Clubs ripping off football fans

International Edition By: Ambrose Udeme | 15/03/2017

World Consumer Rights Day: Clubs ripping off football fans

World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and a chance to protest against the market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.

In football fans have continually complained of the high cost of season tickets but every year, it appears their outcry keeps falling on deaf ears. According to the research, 11 top-flight clubs use an 08 number for their ticket line or general enquiries, with four teams (Burnley, Everton, Sunderland and West Ham) using 08 numbers for both.

World Consumer Rights Day was established on March 15, 1983 to promote the basic rights of consumers worldwide. On this day each year, the global consumer movement unites around a common theme geared towards promoting the basic rights of all consumers. The initiatives which are launched on this day also seek to highlight market abuses and social injustices which undermine these rights.

In the Championship, 20 of the 24 teams use an 08 number, with 14 using a 08 number for tickets and enquiries.

Premier League ticket prices have risen by 12 per cent in the past 12 months. That is five times the annual rate of inflation – while the value of the working man’s pay-packet in the country has fallen in real terms by six per cent according to Daily Mail. With those trends not expected to decrease, the person most commonly described as the average fan is about to be priced out of the game altogether.

Add in, also, the exorbitant costs of travelling to matches and purchasing refreshments – try a tenner for a beer and a hot dog – once you get there. Never mind £70 for official team shirts, many manufactured for peanuts by virtual slave labour in third world countries.

Then there is the added iniquity of clubs charging visiting fans more than they do their own. Apologists argue that if the fans want exotic players in their teams then they must expect to pay the price.

Big-name Premier League clubs have been accused of ripping off fans – by charging up to four times as much as rivals for stadium tours.

Supporters of London clubs Arsenal and Spurs have to shell out £20, while Southampton and Stoke City charge only £5 despite finishing in the top half of the table last year.

And last year’s League winners Leicester City outfox global giant Manchester United, asking fans for just £10 to pitch up and look around. United and their Manchester City rival both rake in a healthy net profit, each charging just under £20.

Chelsea also set the bar high at £19, while West Ham fans are hammered for £17 to tour the club’s new £700 million Olympic stadium in East London. Tours typically last around 30 minutes, taking in the dressing room, stands, dug-out, tunnel, club shop and executive boxes.

But many Premier League clubs also have pricier behind-the-scenes offerings, which can include a buffet lunch and meeting ex-players. Arsenal say their club tours are “extremely popular”, with more than 215,000 visitors to its Emirates Stadium last year.

A spokesman said on the Mirror said: “All visitors are given a fully interactive audio-visual handset, available in nine languages, offering a real behind-the-scenes experience of the club.

“The guide is narrated by Arsenal legend Bob Wilson and includes exclusive interviews with manager Arsene Wenger , and players describing their personal matchday experiences at the stadium.

“Visits include free entry to the club museum, branded Arsenal headphones and a personal certificate.”

Transfers are financed in the main by the enormous TV rights paid by Sky, and others, as well as sponsors, advertising and marketing and merchandising abroad. And, of course, obscenely wealthy owners.

That is one reason why the Premier League is so reluctant to sign up to the caps on the financial governance of clubs which Michel Platini’s UEFA are about to introduce and the fans have a word for it: greed.

Another is exploitation and the golden goose is about to become extinct. German grounds are full, while last season saw increasing tiers of empty seats at some Premier League grounds. Others are being accused of exaggerating attendances to give an impression of being sold out.

It appears that fans here are voting with their feet by walking away from the game, as well as by marching on its administrators. Football is sacrificing its core support while putting itself at the mercy of those to whom it is fashionable to go to matches at the moment – until the next trend comes along.

Last year, the Sunday People revealed 11 Premier League clubs had increased the cost of a stadium pint this season. West Ham are charging £4.70, up 30p on last season, for a pint of lager while Manchester United fans pay the equivalent of £6.50 a pint. Arsenal increased their pint by 10p to £4.60.

How much Premier League clubs charge their fans

Arsenal £20

Spurs £20

Chelsea £19

Man United £18

Man City £17

West Ham £17

Everton £12

Burnley £10

Leicester £10

Sunderland £10

Swansea £10

West Brom £10

Liverpool £9

Middlesbrough £6

Hull £5