The Loneliness of the Long Distance Fan

Written 18th August 2017 by Ruth Peters

As the football season gets underway again there has been some much deserved focus upon the plight of away supporters. Everyone agrees that travelling fans are an essential element of the game and yet so often it is they who suffer the most in terms of ticket pricing, rescheduling of matches, travel arrangements and so on.

Football Ticketing

Last season the Premier League clubs agreed to cap ticket prices at £30 for visiting supporters. That arrangement has been extended to cover the 2017-2018 season. However clubs in the Championship have been unable to reach a similar arrangement meaning that fans are in some cases are being asked to pay ridiculous sums to watch second tier games. The rescheduling of fixtures to suit the requirements of television companies continues to cause difficulties. Newcastle United fans face long journeys home from the South coast on Sunday evenings as their games at both Brighton and Southampton have been rescheduled as 4pm kick offs for the benefit of TV.  Labour MP Tom Watson recently drew attention to the fact that when games are rescheduled it is the travelling fans who face having to pay out extra sums for  fares and in some instances are unable to travel home as there are no trains available.

It is also very often visiting supporters who find themselves subject to additional scrutiny and restrictions when travelling to and from games. This season there will again be a number of so called “bubble matches” for which clubs will only sell tickets to away supporters who are prepared to submit to various restrictions including travelling to and from the game on club coaches. The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act 1985 prohibits the carrying of alcohol on coaches, and in some instances minibuses, when travelling to and from grounds. There is also legislation restricting the consumption of alcohol inside stadiums.

Football Related Criminal Offences

Football in an intense game and it is very often away fans who are the most fervent. For all sorts of reasons supporters, whether at home or away, can find themselves in difficulties with stewards or the police. There are numerous pieces of legislation regulating the conduct of people both travelling to and from games and also whilst at the stadium. For those who are convicted of offences the courts have a full range of sentencing powers which include the imposition of Football Banning Orders.

Olliers Solicitors – Specialist Criminal Defence Lawyers

Olliers have a dedicated team dealing with football related matters and if you require advice or representation we are able to assist you. Olliers have offices in Manchester and London and we can be contacted at anytime. If you wish to speak to us contact David Philpott or Laura Baumanis on 0161 8341515.

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