Spurs and City fan groups issue joint statement criticising ticketing for Carabao Cup final
"All the fine words about fans being 'the lifeblood of the game' mean nothing in reality."
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust have issued a joint statement with two Manchester City fan groups - Manchester City Official Supporters Club and 1894 Group - criticising the ticketing system for the Carabao Cup final.
The statement lists a number of concerns regarding the allocation of tickets to fans in different regions in the country, highlighting that assigning up to half the tickets for the game to Brent residents increases the chances of ticket touting.
"The Carabao Cup Final is now not a sporting event, and headlines that it represents “the return of fans” are misleading," the statement reads.
"The event is a football match played as the centrepiece of a scientific experiment in front of some spectators, a small proportion of whom may be fans of the clubs involved."
The statement acknowledges the health risks involved given Covid-19 is still a significant issue to contend with, but goes on to state: "we question the basis for the strong advice given to clinically extremely vulnerable people – many of whom will have been fully vaccinated – to not apply or attend. We would also have liked to see more explanation of why under-18s are excluded."
The statement also alleges that "inaccurate assumptions about where fans live in relation to the club they support, and their travel patterns, have been made," explaining that travel restrictions imposed on City fans, who in reality don't all live in Manchester, are unfair, as Tottenham fans who qualify for a ticket but don't live in London aren't subject to the same restrictions.
"Genuine consultation with supporter groups would have addressed all of these issues and increased the value of the research being carried out," the statement says.
Tickets being handed to corporate sponsors also is also criticised, with the fan groups involved urging "all club sponsors to return their tickets into the General Admission fan pot for this game."
Next on the list of grievances is the £50 price of the tickets.
"Those fans should apparently be grateful because they are not being charged as much as they could have been," the statement says.
"Local resident, key worker and FA/ EFL corporate tickets are all complimentary, with only the fans of the competing clubs being charged."
The fans groups also criticise the decision to choose this cup final as an experimental event.
"The choice of this event as part of the Events Research Programme has not been driven by practical considerations, but by political grandstanding," the statement says.
"An event staged in front of 4,000 fans from each club could have been possible if input and advice from supporter groups and clubs had been sought. That advice would have helped make the event a more robust model for testing. It wouldn’t have been ideal, but everyone recognises we live in extraordinary times. Instead, fan organisations were excluded from the planning process."
The statement concludes that fans have been "left with an event of questionable scientific value, and in which loyal fans will once again be treated poorly and left open to exploitation. It’s another missed opportunity, and another clear indication of how fans are viewed."