One voice can really make a massive difference and so it proved back in March when Ernie, a Doncaster Rovers fan, got in touch with us to complain that he and his fellow fans had been overcharged for their match tickets at Sheffield Wednesday.
Ernie’s sharp eye alerted FSF ticketing rep Alan Bloore to the problem and thousands of fans are now in line for refunds thanks to their work.
Wednesday had introduced a new pricing structure mid-season reducing the cost of tickets for home fans. However, due to this discount away fans were actually being charged more than home fans. In Ernie’s case this was £23 as opposed to the £17 that home fans in the Kop were paying. Which is pretty harsh as it costs enough to follow your team anyway, neither petrol or rail tickets come cheap, without knowing you're paying extra admission for the privilege.
Now reduced ticket prices are all very commendable, we’re all for more affordable match tickets after all, but in the process the Yorkshire club were actually breaking the Football League’s own rules as ticket pricing plans must be implemented before June 30th. Wednesday didn’t bring in this discount until mid-December, therefore they had to offer these new prices to away fans too.
As well as alerting the FSF to the problem Ernie also emailed all the other clubs who had played, or were due to play, at Hillsborough explaining how they were entitled to the reduced admission. Fans across the country – from Newcastle to Peterborough – were saved money as a result. Top work.
So if you’ve visited Hillsborough as an away fan in the league this season it’s worth checking with your club to see if you’re entitled to a discount. See below for a list of clubs that have played at Hillsborough in the league since Boxing Day 2009:
- Ipswich Town
- Leicester City
- Derby County
- Bristol City
- Sheffield Utd
- Crystal Palace
This isn’t the first time the FSF has heard of complaints like this (we’ve previously won money back for Chelsea and West Ham fans when concessionary prices weren’t passed on) and it probably won’t be the last. So what can you do if you find you’re being charged more than home fans?
- Find out on what date the offers were introduced – if it was after the season started you may well be entitled to a refund although Football League clubs are allowed to run ‘special promotions’ four times per season that don’t have to apply to away fans. We’ll try and find out, via FSF affiliates, how many have been run already.
- Write to the offending club pointing out how unfair you feel this is and how you’ve informed the FSF who will be keeping a beady eye to make sure they don’t do this more than four times as that would be against FL rule 31.2.11.
- Write to your own club and inform them of your experience while explaining that you believe they should pass on any similar offers to away fans.
- Oh and join the FSF!
There’s no guarantee that clubs will refund fans but the more pressure brought to bear by you and your fellow fans, the better chance you have of winning your money back and making sure fellow fans don’t get ripped off in the future.