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22 November 2017

Gentrification on the terraces: fans say twenty's plenty

Laurence Maples, Portsmouth FC fan, Lambeth Socialist Party

Football ticket prices still remain prohibitive, especially for young fans, according to the BBC's annual Price of Football report.

The majority of football ticket prices have not increased this year. But 82% of young fans say the cost of tickets is an obstacle to them going to more games. And 56% of young fans correctly identify that football is not run in their interests.

Ticket prices are particularly expensive in the Premier League, with 13 of the 20 clubs advertising some tickets for over 50.

This is even more pronounced in London, with all four top-tier clubs selling season tickets for 1,000 or more. Even Fulham, a second-tier Championship team, sells season tickets for 929!

Contrast this with German club Borussia Dortmund, which is selling individual tickets for 17, and Catalonia's FC Barcelona which sells season tickets for less than 100. Both operate some kind of fan-ownership model.

What do fans of Chelsea and co get for their astronomically higher prices? It's certainly not quality of football.

This is neoliberalism in sport, and the money men are killing the game in pursuit of private profit, prestige and political influence. The latest proposal from Sky is increasing the number of matches held on evenings and midweek - making them harder for supporters to get to.

But fans and their organisations are fighting back. Last year's campaign to cap ticket prices has had some success, with away tickets now capped at 30 in the Premier League. And fans of Blackpool, just promoted to third-tier League One, have led boycotts against their dodgy owner.

The Socialist Party says: take football off the robber barons - for club ownership by fans and communities. Cap ticket prices - the Football Supporters' Federation is right to say "twenty's plenty" for away games. In my view you could say the same for home games.

Nationalise Sky and the big broadcasters under democratic working class control and management - to guarantee access for all and end top-down control of match times. For massive investment in women's, youth and community football.

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