Belgian club RSC Anderlecht have been ordered by UEFA to compensate away fans hit by the club’s price gouging in this season’s Champions League group fixtures.
Following sustained lobbying from Bayern Munich fans and Football Supporters Europe (FSE), Anderlecht have been fined by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body for breaching its ticketing regulations. These regulations outline that away fans must be charged comparable amounts to home fans, similar to rules in place in domestic football.
The Belgian club now has 15 days to contact Bayern Munich to compensate those German fans who paid €100 for their away tickets back in November - those Bayern fans hit can now expect €30 compensation.
Away pricing has been a big issue in the Champions League this season, FSE say, with some clubs taking it as a opportunity to hike prices and cash in on clubs with big away followings.
Sevilla are charging Manchester United fans £89 for their trip to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium, which led Manchester United to engage in ‘revenge pricing’ - charging Sevilla fans the same for return fixture at Old Trafford. Both clubs eventually committed to subsidising their own travelling fans for these matches.
Meanwhile, Liverpool fans heading to Porto will be charged £66 for their tickets. Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly supporter group said it was “not acceptable to be treated as a cash cow”.
FSE, the umbrella organisation for fan groups across the continent, says it will continue to lobby UEFA on the issue of away fan pricing in its club competitions. They are also calling on supporter groups across Europe to support their efforts to protect travelling fans.
FSE said: “Even though we welcome this decision as a milestone event in the acknowledgement of the rights of away fans, now is the time for a broader change in the pricing policy in the European Cup Competitions for away fans.
“We are calling on all European football clubs to support us in this matter.”
FSE and the FSF have long argued that fair pricing for away fans is vital in protecting the health of the match-going crowd in domestic and European club competitions.
“We are also calling on UEFA to continue to enforce its regulation by obliging clubs to compensate the affected fans in case of a breach of the ticketing regulation,” FSE said.
“It demonstrates UEFA takes into account the level of dedication demonstrated by away fans and can increase the presence of away supporters in substantial numbers, which would only add to the spectacle and atmosphere at matches.”