Bayern Munich have told their supporters they will subsidise the £62 tickets at Arsenal by putting £74,350 towards the cost.
The European champions said in a statement that they realised the match would make “a big dent in supporters’ wallets” and wanted the gesture to be “a small thank you for the great support of followers” in 2013, a year in which the club won the Bundesliga, German Cup, Super Cup, World Club Championship and Champions League.
Bayern have made the 2,974 tickets available at £37 despite having had 18,000 supporters apply for the full-price tickets for the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at the Emirates on 19 February.
“Both in the past, as well as in the current season, Bayern have thrilled the world of European football not only by the outstanding performance and consistency of our team, but also by the fantastic and vocal support of our fans, with the Uefa Champions League
final on 25 May 2013 in London and the Uefa Super Cup final on 30 August 2013 living long in the memory,” said a statement.
“Of particular note is the fact that a large number of Bayern fans not only go to the big occasions, but also attend every away game: and this loyalty means attending a high number of games, which makes a big dent in supporters’ wallets.
“Bayern have therefore decided to subsidise the tickets for the away game at Arsenal with nearly €90,000.. Thus meaning every Bayern fan who buys a ticket for the game on 19/02/2014 in London, will pay only €45 (instead of the regular €75). This is intended to represent a small thank you for the great support of the followers in the past calendar year 2013.”
Arsenal’s ticket prices have been the subject of protests from both home and away supporters in recent seasons. In December the club announced that it would increase prices by 3% next season, which Arsenal said was in line with inflation, although that currently stands at 2.1%. The Football Supporters’ Federation, which campaigns to reduce the price of away costs for supporters in England, welcomed Bayern’s action, particularly as the European champions could easily have sold the tickets at full price.
“We’d be very pleased if an English club did something similar,” said an FSF spokesperson. “Chief executives of clubs are businessmen at the end of the day and they see things from a supply and demand point of view. Put it this way, if an English club did something like this, knowing that they could easily sell their allocation, we would give them plenty of good publicity.”
Following protests from supporters about away costs in England last season the Premier League, with encouragement from the FSF, set up the Away Fans’ Fund, a £12m pot of money for clubs to use to reduce away costs. There are already examples of travel and ticket costs having been reduced by clubs – Hull have offered free coach travel and some clubs have reduced away ticket prices, with Manchester City halving the price of tickets for supporters travelling to Fulham. But the FSF would still like to see more done to preserve the culture of vocal away support in Britain, with the aim to bring about a £20 cap on away tickets. Bayern’s gesture is indeed rare at Champions League level.
“We have a Twenty’s Plenty campaign because away fans are the hardcore,” said the FSF. “They spend money and create atmosphere in grounds and we’ve always argued that that level of support deserves respect. You saw the German clubs when they came to London. The colour and the atmosphere they created was fantastic. We would encourage more English clubs to follow Bayern Munich’s lead.”
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