General

25/04/2024

Big win for fans as Club change 17/19 proposal

Email sent to members today 25/04/2024

Big win for fans as Club change 17/19 proposal

The Club has just released the minutes from last week’s Fans Forum, and we are pleased to report that the body, on which MUST has two representatives, has secured a significant win for fans by reaching agreement with the Club on changes to its 17/19 minimum usage policy for season ticket holders. We have also robustly raised the main issues that fans have been asking us as you will see from the minutes and the paper below.

As you probably know, from next season a season ticket was going to have to be used in 17/19 home Premier League fixtures to be eligible for renewal. Whilst there are lots of options to ensure the ticket is counted as “used” (such as transferring to a Member or selling back to the Club) the policy was causing a great deal of anxiety for some of our fans, who were worried they could end up in a position where they could not renew their cherished ST, potentially for reasons outside their control.

We have had many discussions with the Club at the highest levels, culminating in last week’s Fans' Forum where representatives pressed the case for a change in the policy in the strongest terms. As a result we are delighted that the Club has agreed to change the policy as follows:

  • For next season the minimum ticket usage only goes up by one, from 14 at present to 15 next year.
  • Further increases from 15 to 16 and 17 will only take place with close analysis of the data to prove the policy is working, and in consultation with the Fans Forum
  • The minimum usage will never rise by more than one game per season, and is capped at a maximum of 17.
  • For games which have not sold out and where buy-back from the club is disabled (such as Sheffield United last night), you will be allowed to forward your ticket to non-members as well as members.

Most fans support the Club’s goal of making sure the ground is as full as possible, which creates the best possible atmosphere for the team, and this year’s minimum usage policy of 14/19 has delivered benefits with fewer empty seats than in the past and many more tickets in the hands of Manchester United members.

However many felt that the 17/19 plan went too far, too fast, and we are delighted that they have listened to supporters' views presented by the Fans Forum and MUST. It demonstrates that when fans are united, and we make our case to the Club in a calm, professional and rational way, they are prepared to listen. It is a credit to the Club that they were willing to do so and we thank them for that.

We also think it is worth highlighting the other issues raised at the Fans Forum, so we are including below the content of the paper that was submitted on behalf of all fan reps. This represents the main issues that have been raised with MUST and FF members which has been included in the FF minutes. It is important to make clear this paper is what was raised, not what was agreed by the club. As ever, the club makes decisions on policy - our role as MUST and as FF reps is to ensure the club have heard the views of fans before they make decisions.

With this issue out the way we can all now focus on the priority in the coming weeks – getting behind the teams at Wembley and winning those two cup finals..


Following - for your information:

The Fan Representatives update paper submitted to the forum

  • FF members are hearing from some STHs in particular that they feel persecuted by some club policies.
  • Supporters and MUFC employees should treat each other with respect. Specifically, MUFC employees should do their utmost to ensure that supporters facing problems in gaining admission into Old Trafford are able to attend the match.
  • New policy changes should first undergo scrutiny by subgroups, followed by consultation (there is a MUST proposal under consideration) with fans before decisions are made.
  • Subgroups (and in particular the ticketing subgroup) should meet on a regular basis.
  • Where the club wants to change fan behaviour it should be through more carrot and less stick.
  • Fans should not be afraid of losing their tickets when passing on tickets at face value or falling foul of minimum ticket usage due to circumstances outside their control.
  • STH should be able to nominate at the start of each season a small number of family and friends who can use their ticket without officially forwarding these.
  • Compulsory relocations should be avoided and where relocations are deemed necessary, then fans should be consulted and those affected should be made offers which result in voluntary relocation. Groups of friends should be kept together. This may result in a more gradual process that cannot be achieved in one go. However, this is preferable to the disruption and discontent caused by enforced mass moves. A lengthy consultation process should precede any relocation (except when there is a need to comply with new legislation, safety requirements, etc.).


17/19 minimum usage 

  • The proposed increase in minimum ST usage to 17/19 PL games should be phased in gradually, increasing by no more than +1 next season. The impact of any change should be reviewed before any further change(s).
  • Clarification required that canceling a ticket counts as usage even if the ticket doesn't resell. If it doesn't resell that simply means the fan does not get a refund. 
  • Provide guarantees on ability to register cancelation (counting as usage) right up to KO and thus even after resale and refund is not possible. 
  • Ability to notify of an exceptional issue if unable to attend and unable to cancel ahead of KO.

Away ticket ballots - standard pot

  • Away ticket ballots - much concern about this due to dwindling chances in standard ballot - needs a subgroup investigation before any possible changes are consulted on with fans.
  • No quick and unilateral changes to be introduced. Significant consideration is necessary to avoid potential unintended consequences if changes are proposed.

Anti-touting measures should not impact genuine fans

  • Innocent fans should not be inconvenienced, or worse sanctioned, when pursuing professional touts.
  • Fans should not have a digital ticket check with their ticket disabled at the turnstile except where touting evidence is very strong rather than suspected.
  • When a fan’s digital ticket is disabled to enforce an ID check, it is unreasonable to expect the fan to go to ticket office. The check should be undertaken near the turnstile block.
  • If security believe ticket checks are needed on lower level evidence then such checks should be in the stadium at the seat, as previously, or prior to turnstiles opening, to minimise inconvenience to innocent fans.
  • As there is no legal requirement to carry picture ID, the club should publish how identity checks would be established.
  • Fans should not be sanctioned for passing on tickets in good faith at or below face value,  or for posting on social media to advertise availability of a spare ticket which would then be transferred through the official system and not above face value. This is not touting.
  • Clear protocols, that are shared with supporters, need to be established for managing the above checks.
     

Suspensions and de facto club banning orders

There should be a presumption of innocence until proven guilty so fans should not be suspended pending the outcome of a Police investigation except where there are aggravating circumstances such as violence towards another fan or staff member, or when the club has clear evidence beyond reasonable doubt (it should be a high bar for suspension prior to completion of appeal process) that an offence has been committed.

Tickets disabled because it is claimed that these have already been used

(i) Once again, clear protocols need to be established and shared with supporters.
(ii) The onus is on the club to demonstrate that a ticket has actually been used and that the supporter’s seat is in fact occupied by another person.
(iii) The norm should be for checks to be made at the turnstile and not at the ticket office and there should be a presumption of innocence.

//ENDS


You can submit comments on the above email here

Many thanks for your continued support

--
M.U.S.T. 
www.imust.org.uk
18 Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, MANCHESTER M16 0QG
Office Tel: 0161 872 3300
Twitter:  @MU_ST
Prize Draws:  https://www.imust.org.uk/Competition
MUST Shop:  http://mustshop.org
Facebook page:  /MUST

blog comments powered by Disqus