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Manchester United alone in the big four in trying to refund VAT for season ticket holders

At Manchester United the season ticket waiting list has been all but wiped out by 40% price rises over the past five seasons. And with that shrinkage of potential bums on putative seats there must have been some concern over season ticket take up for the coming season. With 57,000 season ticket holders - a significant part of the business plan required to keep up the massive debt repayments - United are severely at risk by an attendance downturn.

The news released on Tuesday, that United were going to try to refund VAT to season ticket holders as well as new ticket purchases - as long as HM Revenue and Customs agrees - was a sign of the times. Most fans will see a round a pound knocked off a standard £43 ticket. That United are publically trying to bring disgruntled season ticket holders back onside is welcome and could forestall a huge season ticket holder churn in summer 2009. Incidentally 13 x £1 x 57,000 = £741,000; meaning that this move by United will cost them almost £1m if brought off.

Next season it will be interesting to see whether United split the VAT as the VAT rise in January splits the season.

United were the last of the big four to make an announcement on the matter.

Chelsea by contrast are only passing on VAT reductions for future sales - although they will be selling next years season tickets with VAT at 15%, despite the pre-announced rise of VAT to 17.5% in January 2010.

Liverpool's comment on VAT includes a committment to reduce future prices but makes no mention of pre-sold season tickets. The Liverpool ticket price cuts of £1 per ticket represents a cut a little more than the VAT cut for sub-£40 tickets, with Kop tickets, at £36, for example, being cut by around 3%.

Arsenal released details on Monday that they will also be reducing ticket prices for future games by around the 2.13% that the VAT rate fall represents - but that season ticket holders will not be entitled to a refund - 'any tickets purchased prior to this date are subject to the VAT rate at the time of purchase'. Like Liverpool, Arsenal aren't reducing by exactly the amount specified, but rounding values to the nearest 50p means that some will get a bigger reduction than expected and others a lesser reduction. £36 tickets become £35 tickets (2.9% reduction), but £33 tickets become £32.50 tickets (1.5% reduction).

All the top English clubs are going to cut prices after the VAT cut, but unusually in recent years United appear to be alone amongst the big four in going further. United are looking to give money back to season ticket holders when there seems to be no legal imperative for the action, a sign of benign owners - or worried ones?

* All comments taken from the official web sites in question.

· Banned
2,738 Posts
Great to see the club finally come to terms with the fact everyone is skint put down ticket prices !!!!!!!!!

And just a comment on the carling cup where tickets are now full price for any match drop the prices you will fill the ground . I went to united barnet 4 years ago and the ground was more full than last night its a joke carling cup should be £20 maximum.
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