Burnley explain Arsenal ticketing situation after fan complaints

Burnley have responded to disappointment from Burnley FC Supporters Groups at a reduced ticket allocation for the last away game of the season at Arsenal.

Burnley fans
Burnley fans

Burnley FC Supporters Groups have released a statement outlining they are “are extremely disappointed at the Football Club's decision to accept a reduced ticket allocation for our away game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, May 6th” for a game which could have a major bearing on the Clarets returning to Europe for the first time in 51 years.

The statement continued: “This decision is particularly disappointing given this is potentially the biggest away game in which we will have been involved in our four years in the Premier League with a potential place in the Europa League at stake in this fixture against a direct opponent.

“The club's explanation, which has been detailed by the Marketing & Operations Manager via email and the Media Manager via his personal Twitter account, is equally disappointing.

“The explanation is in five parts.

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“1. The decision to take the allocation had to be made via Arsenal 2 weeks ago.

“This was after we'd secured successive away victories at West Ham and West Brom, at a time when Burnley supporters were singing about a possible European tour. By then, it was clear that this would be a big game.

“2. Our last visit to the Emirates had an away attendance of 1,422.

“That's correct. It was in January 2017 and was our tenth away game of the season with the previous nine having brought us one point. Even so, the numbers, it is believed, were limited by Burnley's decision to also take a lower allocation on that occasion.

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“However, any full investigation by the club would have shown that the away attendance for the FA Cup tie at the Emirates a year earlier was 2,913 and in the 2014/15 season, at a time when we'd failed to win in the first nine games of the season, it was 2,971.

“3. The game has recently been rearranged to the Sunday, with limited transport options for fans due to it being a Bank Holiday. In addition, at the time of the decision the actual time and date of the reschedule was unconfirmed and could have been on the Monday evening (7th May).

“Given Arsenal's progress in the Europa League, Burnley fans seemed clear in the knowledge that the game would not be played on the Saturday and, given Arsenal are at Leicester on Wednesday 9th May, there was little likelihood of this game being played on the Monday.

“Our game at Tottenham was also played on a Sunday on a Bank Holiday weekend. The away attendance at that fixture was in excess of 3,000.

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“4. A similar situation occurred at the Everton away match this season where BFC took the maximum allocation of tickets and there were similar transport issues for fans. Ultimately only around half of these tickets were purchased by fans and BFC had to pay for the rest, due to Everton's selling conditions of no sale or return.

“There were rail issues regarding Lime Street Station in Liverpool but it is wrong to suggest there were transport issues for such a journey. Ticket sales for that game were late and confusing and, ultimately the away attendance was 2,247 which is considerably more than half of the allocation.

“5. The game also clashed with the original date of the Player of the Year Awards dinner which has just under 1,000 fans attending.

“There is no obvious relevance to this statement number 5.

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“Burnley FC Supporters Groups are far from accepting of the explanation and very disappointed that there has been no apology from the club nor an admission that this decision was clearly a wrong one.

“The group can also confirm that there has been no consultation with the club regarding allocations for this or any previous away game.

“The group are asking that:

1. Burnley FC make a further approach to Arsenal FC requesting a further ticket allocation. It is likely that this will be refused but it is the least our club can do at this late stage.

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“2. Some transparency is brought to ticket sales from next season which will include the club confirming the allocation requested and received prior to tickets going on sale and to provide regular updates as to how many of those tickets have been sold during the sales process. It seems to be the policy at most Premier League clubs where communication with supporters is considerably better than experienced by Burnley supporters.“

The football club responded with the following statement: “The allocation for Arsenal away has sold out, and after additional requests to Arsenal earlier this week there is no option available to Burnley FC to get any further tickets.

“We sympathise that, on this occasion, some supporters haven't been able to get a ticket, but the decision on our allocation was taken due to a number of factors, which at the time indicated that the take up of tickets may not reach the maximum.

“One is that the decision was necessary before the club had attained five consecutive wins (something never achieved at this level since 1968), and the fact Arsenal lost during that time, both of which heightened the demand.

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“If we had the opportunity to make the decision on the allocation this week, then of course the request would have been different.

“However, the decision had to be made two weeks ago, and we can only base our request on the actual factors at the time, not on speculating fixture predictions.

“We apologise to those fans who wished to attend the game but were unable to obtain a ticket on this occasion. We will keep comments already received directly from supporters on record, and take them into consideration over the summer, when we intend to have a full review of ticketing policy.

“The club will not comment further on this matter.”