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Football Ticket Campaigners Should Inspire England’s Rugby Fans

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Liverpool fans show support for their team prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on March 2, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Outrage at the rising cost of Premier League tickets caused thousands of devoted Liverpool fans to campaign against these changes. After many weeks of action, Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, caved in to all their demands. Now the time has come for rugby fans to stand up for the sport they love.

FSG had previously announced plans to introduce £77 match day tickets in certain areas of the ground and a new £1,000 season ticket, as well as price increases for around a third of season ticket holders. However, huge protests from supporter groups – including a walkout at one game at Anfield, where 10,000 fans left their seats in protest – caused the owners to have a change of heart. As a result, ticket prices have been frozen and new £9 tickets have been introduced.

during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield on February 6, 2016 in Liverpool, England.

Now it is time for rugby fans to do the same. Every year the RFU has been increasing ticket prices for international games at Twickenham in order to bolster their financial resources. As mentioned in a previous article, the RFU has announced a new Test fixture against Wales in May to replace the annual England vs Barbarians game. In what seems an unsurprisingly cynical move, the RFU is charging £48 for the cheapest adult ticket with prices going all the way up to £85 for the best seats.

For a game that will see England field a second-string team against Wales due to scheduling conflicts, these prices seem extortionate. The RFU will argue that junior ticket prices are locked at £20 to help promote the game for younger generations, but why should any adult have to pay close to £100 for a game that is likely to be low on quality and certainly insignificant in comparison to a summer tour or Six Nations event?

For this one off event, the RFU is releasing tickets on general sale. Normally, tickets are issued to affiliated clubs and schools first before any remaining numbers are then issued for general release. This suggests the RFU know they are in for a struggle to sell the stadium out for such an occasion, so why then are they continuing to charge such outrageous prices for a game that really should have stayed as a traditional Barbarians fixture, allowing Eddie Jones to field fringe players but also letting families enjoy a day out at the rugby without the ridiculous costs that normally come with enjoying rugby at Twickenham?

A general view of Twickenham Stadium on July 6, 2015 in London, England.

This is nothing new for the RFU either. Back in 2009, the Daily Mail ran an article where England fan Trevor Roberts argued that prices were being rocketed upwards, to the detriment of all fans:

“I was appalled that the price for this season had been increased to £83.

“In the last few years the top-ticket price has soared from around £55. There is no justification for a 60 per cent increase.”

It seems that despite the RFU’s windfall of £15 million from the Rugby World Cup, they are determined to keep the money piling in, even if it is costing the fans more. Surely it is time now for England fans to stand together and show the RFU that without their supporters they are nothing? They certainly spend enough of their money on marketing with their ‘Carry Them Home’ campaign.

Maybe the RFU can ‘Carry The Cost’ a little more than they are right now?

Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

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