Over the past 24 hours a number of Liverpool fans have raised concerns that they are being charged more than their Manchester United counterparts for the League Cup meeting at Old Trafford on Wednesday 25th September.
Liverpool have received an allocation of 7,258 tickets for the tie, the majority of which are in the East Stand priced at £45 and £46, with a small portion in the South Stand priced at £55. It appears to many Liverpool fans that Manchester United are overcharging the visitors by offering seats in equivalent home areas for £40, £41 and £50 respectively.
Football League rules (for those who like the technical jargon, it's clause 34.2.8) state:
"No club shall charge higher admission prices for visiting supporters for accommodation that is ranked as comparable with or inferior to that used by supporters of the Home Club in the same or next highest ranked accommodation."
Manchester United are able to get away with this as the prices quoted for home fans are for members of the club's membership scheme. This entitles the holder to a £5 discount on all match tickets, but prices begin at £32 a year for an adult.
The maths whizzes among you will have worked out that each United fan would have to attend at least seven games at Old Trafford each season to see the benefit of this membership through the reduced price of tickets - so it hardly appeals to away fans.
Non-members who wish to buy tickets in the home end for this or any other fixture would be required to pay the same price as the Liverpool fans.
Many clubs run these membership schemes as a way to circumvent the ticketing rules and/or make more money from their fanbase (depending on your point of view).
In theory, of course, membership schemes are open to all fans and any Liverpool fan who happened to be a member of Manchester United would be entitled to a £5 reduction in his or her ticket. And pigs will fly.
We have every sympathy with travelling fans who end up paying more for tickets thanks to membership schemes and will be raising your concerns with the Football League at a meeting today.
What can I do about it?
It's no surprise that numbers of away fans are dropping thanks to the obstacles in place - ridiculous ticket prices, rising costs of travel, TV messing about with fixtures, worst seats in the house, unfriendly stewarding, police interference with kick-off times and “bubble matches”.
While home fans face challenges too, it's travelling supporters who are often at the sharp end. The FSF is campaigning, demonstrating and lobbying to ensure away fans' unique contribution is recognised. Get involved and do your bit below.
Our Twenty’s Plenty for Away Tickets campaign calls upon football clubs at all levels of the game to recognise and reward the amazing contribution of away fans by getting together to agree an across the board price cap on away match tickets of £20 (£15 for concessions).
This will add your name to the 10,000+ who have already signed the petition and trigger an email to your club and the relevant league, outlining your support for cheaper prices for away fans.