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telegraph

Manchester United ticket policy in OFT investigation

Manchester United are being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading over their ticketing policy, particularly the champions' controversial Compulsory Automatic Cup Scheme which forces Premier League season ticket-holders to buy FA Cup and Champions League tickets....

United are confident of making a robust rebuttal of fans' complaints when meeting the OFT.

Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) complained about United's behaviour last month to the OFT who then met representatives of the fans' group in Parliament on Dec 10 at an all-party event promoting the "Fair Deal for Fans'' campaign.

MUST received confirmation from the OFT on Wednesday that United's ticketing was being looked into.

"The OFT will be investigating your complaint that the Manchester United season ticket terms contravene the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999,'' the OFT informed Duncan Drasdo, the MUST chief executive.

Drasdo said: "We're delighted that the OFT have chosen to launch an investigation into this matter, and we're confident that the level of political support we're gathering will ensure that the Fair Deal for Fans campaign now goes beyond United and beyond our compulsory cup ticket scheme.

"Huge ticket prices and the systematic exploitation of loyal supporters affect many fans at clubs throughout all the divisions.''

Politicians are lining up in support of MUST. "The Automatic Cup Scheme seems a pretty clear-cut case of unfair practices,'' said Alan Keen MP, chair of the All-Party Football Group, "and we were glad to learn that the OFT will be looking into it. But now it's up to politicians to use the various tools at our disposal to broaden this campaign and get a fair deal for all fans.''

MUST claim that the Compulsory Automatic Cup Scheme forces fans to buy tickets of FA Cup and Champions League home ties as a condition of their Premier League season.

With the credit crunch biting, fans want the option of buying tickets on a match-by-match basis. United fans have received support from their counterparts at other clubs.



Just curious. Any comments to this? Is it good or bad for the CLUB to be investigated like this? Likely implication(s) and any possible repercussion(s)? Likely future scenario?
 

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Noticed this on SSN.

Ticket prices are getting completely out of control, and it may well be a good thing if the investigation goes in favour of the supporters.

However, I really think that if United are ruled against, they really need to investigate the other clubs as well as us. After all, its not just United that have massive ticket prices.

But, does anyone know what will happen if the club get ruled against?
 
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manutd004 said:
But, does anyone know what will happen if the club get ruled against?
The ticket policy will have to change obviously. :p ;)


The OFT fined United £6m over the replica shirt price-fixing scam.
They can also order unlawful behaviour to stop.

MUST haven't to my knowledge requested MUFC be fined, although I heard that the OFT can fine up to 10% of annual turnover. :eek:

Good result for the fans IMO and great work by MUST. :) :)

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SALFORD RED said:
The ticket policy will have to change obviously. :p ;)
Well, thats what I gathered :rolleyes: :p

SALFORD RED said:
The OFT fined United £6m over the replica shirt price-fixing scam.

They can also order unlawful behaviour to stop.

MUST haven't to my knowledge requested MUFC be fined, although I heard that the OFT can fine up to 10% of annual turnover. :eek:

Good result for the fans IMO and great work by MUST. :) :)
Thanks for that. Thats what I was looking for.

We'll just have to wait a see.
 

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SALFORD RED said:
The ticket policy will have to change obviously. :p ;)


The OFT fined United £6m over the replica shirt price-fixing scam.
They can also order unlawful behaviour to stop.

MUST haven't to my knowledge requested MUFC be fined, although I heard that the OFT can fine up to 10% of annual turnover. :eek:

Good result for the fans IMO and great work by MUST. :) :)

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Agreed
 

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great news. the cup scheme is a joke. iv had to pay £35 for every home cup game this season and seeing as we aint been away in the carling cup its madness. like i couldnt make allborg and all the carling cup but i still had to pay £35 for my seat i brought for £650 at the start of the season. madness. Love United Hate Glazer :rolleyes:
 
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Official Press release from M.U.S.T.:

OFT LAUNCH INVESTIGATION INTO MUFC

PRESS NOTICE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 15.00 THURSDAY 11th DECEMBER 2008

www.joinMUST.org/oft

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched an Investigation into Manchester United Football Club (MUFC), following the submission of a Complaint by the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST).

MUST submitted documents to the OFT on 19th November, resulting from the many complaints it had received from its 35,000 members and other match-going fans regarding the Compulsory Automatic Cup Scheme (ACS) and the Terms & Conditions of MUFC Season Tickets (ST).

In a letter of reply to MUST's chief executive Duncan Drasdo, the OFT confirmed: “The OFT will be investigating your complaint that the Manchester United season ticket terms contravene the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (UTCCR).â€

A team from the OFT's Consumer Protection Group then met with representatives of MUST on 10th December in Westminster to discuss the complaint in more detail, following a meeting the supporters' group had held with MPs to present their case and discuss plans to broaden their campaign for a ‘Fair Deal For Fans'.

MUST's Duncan Drasdo said: “We're delighted that the OFT have chosen to launch an Investigation into this matter, and we're confident that the level of political support we're gathering will ensure that the Fair Deal for Fans campaign now goes beyond United and beyond our compulsory Cup ticket scheme. Huge ticket prices and the systematic exploitation of loyal supporters affect many fans at clubs throughout all the Divisions.â€

MUST was invited to give a presentation to a meeting of MPs hosted by Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central and Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, held in the House of Commons Committee Room 9. It was attended by a number of MPs and researchers, including representatives from all three major political parties. Among them was Alan Keen MP, Chair of All-Party Football Group, and Hugh Robertson MP, the shadow Sports Minister. Although the meeting was intended primarily for Manchester United-supporting MPs, and those from the surrounding area, there were MPs in attendance of a variety of sporting allegiances – including Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Alan Keen MP, chair of the All-Party Football Group, said: “The Automatic Cup Scheme seems a pretty clear-cut case of unfair practices, and we were glad to learn that the OFT will be looking into it. But now it's up to politicians to use the various tools at our disposal to broaden this campaign and get a fair deal for all fans.â€

The OFT is expected to hold meetings with representatives of MUFC in due course.

Background Notes on the ACS and the Complaint to the OFT:

The Compulsory ACS forces supporters to pay for tickets to home FA Cup games and Champions League games as a condition of the Season Ticket for Premier League games. Until the start of the 2007/08 season, fans were able to purchase Cup tickets separately, on a game-by-game basis.

Following an outcry when the Scheme became compulsory, MUFC removed the obligation to purchase tickets for the League Cup, although this is still an ‘opt-out' rather than an ‘opt-in'. Cup games can often be played at unusual times, and on evenings and weekends, when many fans find it difficult to attend. And at the start of a season the number of Cup games that might be played at home is unknown, making budgeting impossible.

Furthermore, fans are unable to re-sell unwanted tickets by any means other than through the website of the club's official re-sale partner Viagogo, and supporters who've been forced to buy tickets they did not want are only allowed to sell their tickets once the club has sold all of its own. Such sell outs are now becoming a rarity at Old Trafford as demand has plummeted - particularly for the early rounds of Cup competitions.

Whilst the compulsory ACS forces fans to purchase tickets for the less popular games (such as Coventry in the League Cup at the beginning of last season, when United fielded a weakened team), it does not by any means guarantee them a ticket for the more popular ones (such as at home to Arsenal in the FA Cup or Barcelona in the Champions League), a clear imbalance in the rights between ‘customer' and ‘provider'.

Away allocations, corporate tickets and stadium space required by the media and police can vary greatly for Cup games, whereas Premier League games are more predictable in nature, both in scheduling and ticketing, so it seems bizarre that MUFC should choose to impose a compulsory ticketing scheme for home Cup games.

The ‘Fair Deal for Fans' campaign launched by MUST has the full backing of the national fans' bodies, the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) www.fsf.org.uk and Supporters Direct (SD) www.supporters-direct.org

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SALFORD RED said:
We’re delighted that the OFT have chosen to launch an Investigation into this matter, and we’re confident that the level of political support we’re gathering will ensure that the Fair Deal for Fans campaign now goes beyond United and beyond our compulsory Cup ticket scheme. Huge ticket prices and the systematic exploitation of loyal supporters affect many fans at clubs throughout all the Divisions.”
Thats great news.

Theres no point limiting it to just Utd, and letting the other clubs maintain their high prices (and cup schemes if anyone else has something similar.)
 

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i think united are gonna argue that you know the deal before you agree to T&C and no fan is forced into buying the season ticket.

it is however, pulling on fan loyalty and hoping fans will buy on strength of that which sucks big time.
 
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