"Extreme variations in price cannot be forgotten" - Bayern fans call for reciprocal pricing in European fixtures

Bayern Munich fans banner at Arsenal Photo Action Images2

Ticket prices aren't just a problem in domestic football, fans travelling to the UK to see their team play in European cup competitions are being hit  too. Here Bayern Munich fan group Club Nr 12 explain how cross-European reciprocal pricing campaigns could help address the problem...

During the Arsenal v Bayern Munich game in London two weeks ago, many fans protested against the ticket prices.

With a price of €100 for a group stage game in the Champions League, a limit was crossed for most fans. We won't just passively watch continuous price increases any longer, especially in European club competitions.

The time has come to discuss the pricing of tickets for UEFA club competitions generally. The following hopefully will initiate a debate within the European fan community about how reasonable ticket prices can be defined and also be implemented.

We are aware that we must not neglect the situation in our own club: The prices asked for our away sector in Munich may appear to be only half as much as in London, but for fans from countries with substantially lower incomes they nevertheless are a big obstacle.

The consequences of inappropriately rising ticket prices can be seen very clearly through developments during the last two decades in England: Larger and larger parts of society are being excluded from attending matches. The traditional football atmosphere is being lost. Fan culture is dying.

In the meantime it has become commonplace for fans not to be able to afford a season ticket after attending all of their home games for decades. Such a situation is unnaceptable to us.

Similar problems have in recent years been improved in Germany by the existence of well priced safe standing areas. Also, the awareness of the importance of fan culture for football as a whole is more developed here. Nevertheless we experience similar tendencies, especially with European clup games.

The thought that eventually only the better-off will be able to visit attractive games - such as the European club competitions - is not acceptable, not least in view of footballs's social responsibility.

It should be made certain especially for away fans, who have contributed such a lot to the attraction of those special games in the European competitions, that a visit to a game does not become impossible due to ticket prices demanded. It would be good for football to remember its roots and treat visiting supporters that travel from another country as welcome and valued guests with regard to ticket prices.

We therefore consider the rule which was established by UEFA some years ago, according to which you could not ask higher prices from an away fan than what you charge a local for a comparable ticket, as correct and important, even though it is frequently evaded by, for example, extreme discounts for home supporters.

To implement the intent of this rule we think it necessary to offer away fans the lowest price tickets available to home supporters. This principle is already being applied in the Bundesliga and it seems only logical to use it also in the European cup games and thus lead by example.

When discussing ticket prices in European club competitions the sometimes extreme variations in price and income levels within Europe must not be forgotten. If football takes its role as a supra-national builder of bridges seriously, solutions have to be found to enable fans from poorer countries to visit games in more well-to-do countries of our continent.

One rule worth discussing, and a desirable one in our opinion, would be to charge such visiting fans the maximum amount they pay at their clubs' home matches. If for example an eastern European club asks € 20 from visiting Bavarians, FC Bayern in turn would charge the same amount for the return match.

The reduced income caused by such a rule is easily absorbed in view of the turnover created in professional football and will especially help fans from countries for which a trip to a away game in another European country constitutes a real financial challenge. With such a rule UEFA would surely promote the concept of fair play far better than by posting fairplay advertising around stadia.

Apart from such regulations concerning pricing, we consider the re-introduction of safe standing areas in international games for the most promising approach to solve the problems mentioned. UEFA brandishes RESPECT as a core value. We are missing this respect in regard of a fan culture which has for example proven in Germany that standing does not constitute a safety risk, but an enrichment to the stadium experience for all fans.

We are calling upon the fans in Europe to take part in this discussion and to contribute their point of view. Us the fans have to become aware of our role and stand up together for our interests. Ticket prices are a fundamental subject for us and future fan generations.

Also engage youself in national aliances such as "Kein Zwanni" or "Twenty's Plenty", because the national pice level has a great influence on the matches of the European competions as well.

The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don't necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn't be attributed to the FSF.

Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this blog.