Manchester United have been given the green light to continue with their controversial compulsory ticket scheme – but must guarantee all season ticket holders entry to cup matches in future.
Following complaints from supporters, the Office of Fair Trading investigated the scheme, which forces season ticket holders to buy tickets for cup matches, whether they wanted them or not.
Originally, the ACS covered all cup competitions, although it has since been amended to exclude Carling Cup ties.
However, not only did some fans feel it was unfair to expect them to commit in advance for an uncertain number of matches against unknown opposition, it also became apparent some supporters who had purchased ’One-Year’ season tickets were not guaranteed entry for cup games.
After months of discussion, the OFT and United have now reached what appears to be a satisfactory conclusion as far as the Old Trafford outfit is concerned.
United have now guaranteed all season ticket holders will have the opportunity to buy a ticket for every cup game, while their working practices have been amended to ensure there is greater clarity over their season ticket sales.
In return, the Red Devils can continue with the ACS, although an appeals procedure is now in place when tickets have been terminated for non-payment in relation to cup matches.
“We are very pleased that a season ticket will continue to include cup matches,” said United chief operating officer Michael Bollingbroke.
“That is central to our strategy and we have made the necessary changes for next season to avoid the situation where holders of ’One Year’ season tickets were not guaranteed tickets for some cup games.
“While the number potentially affected was small, we accept that all season tickets should come with that guarantee in future.
“Most of the other changes to terms and conditions reflect existing practice, but their inclusion in the terms provides fans with greater reassurance and transparency.
“This is good news for the club and for season ticket holders.”