Tony Blair has joined in the ticket pricing debate and backed calls for Premiership clubs to lower their ticket prices to make sure fans can afford to attend matches.
He said countless empty seats at top-flight grounds in recent years were a clear indication that prices needed to come down.
"Anyone who watches the Premiership can just notice, in the past year or couple of years, the rows of empty seats,” he said at his monthly press conference today.
"It’s something I do not recall seeing in the same way four or five years back so I think there are very sensible market-based reasons for people to make sure the ticket prices aren’t beyond the reach of the ordinary fan. After all, it’s the ordinary fan that really builds the club. It’s a decision for them but I think the logic of it is pretty clear.”
Almost 80 MPs have signed a motion protesting at ticket prices "beyond
the reach of many fans”.
The Premier League should use at least some of the amazing amounts of money received
from a new TV rights deal to reduce ticket prices, they say.
Who can argue with that? Bolton have announced that they will use some of the extra TV cash to
reduce season ticket prices next year and Blackburn are looking to do something similar. Other clubs have cut the cost of attending some matches in a bid to
boost attendances – which are falling on average.
Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman Don Foster said:
"Tony Blair’s hit the target on high Premiership ticket prices –
they’re clearly putting fans off. His comments add pressure to the football authorities who are already
being squeezed to get their house in order or lose out on a World Cup
bid. It’s simply unacceptable that football’s recent cash bonanza isn’t
getting back into fans’ pockets. There’s a real danger that short-term profits are being given priority
over the long-term interests of the game". [Mof Gimmers via]