quarta-feira, 12 de setembro de 2007

Fans' facing increasing financial burden

Wednesday 5th September


The ever increasing financial outlay involved in following their favourite football teams is forcing fans into choosing to attend fewer matches.
A survey commissioned by Virgin Money indicates around one in ten Premiership fans who regularly attend their club’s games intend to see less live fixtures this season than last - simply because going to football has become so expensive.
Their research suggests that, predictably perhaps, that its fans of Premier League clubs who are particularly feeling the pinch.
Virgin Money’s figures reveal Middlesbrough (24%); Chelsea (19%) and Manchester United (14%) have most fans who are planning to attend fewer fixtures than last season - while Blackburn Rovers (2%), Reading (5%) and Everton (6%) have the least.
And, of all the supporters surveyed, fans of top flight teams are least likely to attend as many matches this year as they did last, with some 11% saying they will have to attend fewer fixtures.
Scarcely surprising considering the latest data from Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Price Index demonstrates the cost of attending matches has gone up by 22% since February 2006.
Designed to assist fans in monitoring the full financial cost of following their team, the index has identified items which are a part of the match day experience for most supporters and tracks the price of them every three months.
Eighteen months ago, their “match day basket” of goods – including things like food, drinks, match tickets, train travel etc. – came in at £77.95, but the latest analysis puts the price at £95.08 - a rise of £17.13.
Commenting on these figures, Football Supporters’ Federation Chairman Malcolm Clarke said: “This survey shows again what every fan in this country already knows - the cost of watching football here is still at ludicrous levels.”
“We're in real danger of losing the next generation of football supporters in this country - already in the Premier League its own research is showing that less than one in ten of supporters are under the age of 24.
“Some FSF members were in Berlin last weekend. They paid £13 to see Hertha Berlin play defending Bundesliga champions VfB Stuttgart, a price included free public transport to and from the ground from anywhere in the Greater Berlin area. A similar seat to watch Arsenal play this season will cost £46 with no free public transport, its £44 at Spurs, £53 at Chelsea, £49 at West Ham United and £45 at Fulham. Even in the fourth tier, at Barnet in Football League Two, they're charging £15 to stand and £20 for a seat.
“That's daylight robbery – and the clubs should hang their heads in shame.
“At Barcelona this term the most expensive season ticket, including membership which entitles you to a vote for the president and board, works out at less than £28 per game - and the cheapest, which includes free entry to domestic Cup games works out at just £5.65 per match.”
“For fans traveling to games in this country, the cost of transport is rising too. This is especially true for those who have to or who choose to use public transport.
“Nearly 8 in 10 Premier League supporters travel either in their own car or that of a fellow supporter. The Government and the train operating companies need to up their game, too.”
Virgin Money spokesman John Franklin said: “The ordinary football fan is up against it this year. While it's true that some clubs have frozen or even reduced ticket prices, our analysis shows that the overall cost of following your team continues to rise.”
“And while perhaps last season fans were able to ride the storm thanks to some favourable market conditions, the effects of five interest rate rises will make life very difficult for many. Financially life is getting tougher, but fans won't want to sacrifice following their team as a result.”

Premier League of Fan Attendance drops:

Middlesbrough - 24%
Chelsea - 19%
Manchester United - 14%
Tottenham Hotspur - 14%
Arsenal - 13%
Bolton Wanderers - 13%
Derby County - 11%
West Ham United - 11%
Birmingham City - 10%
Sunderland - 10%
Manchester City - 9%
Newcastle United - 9%
Portsmouth - 9%
Fulham - 8%
Wigan Athetic - 8%
Liverpool - 7%
Aston Villa - 6%
Everton - 6%
Reading - 5%
Blackburn Rovers - 2%

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