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Indequate FA Response

By Paul  Cullen :  16/03/2009 :  Comments (27) :
I recently e-mailed the FA to question the disgracefuly inadequate if not unexpected ticket allocation for the semi-finals ? for what it is worth below is my original e-mail , followed by the FA response and my subsequent e-mail

Dear Sirs, I now understand that Everton will receive less than 32,000 tickets for the up coming FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley. Am I to assume that Man Utd will receive the same allocation and if not, why not? Assuming that the total allocation to both clubs is 64,000, who gets the other 26,000 if the capacity is 90,000 and why are they not allocated to fans of the clubs involved? Can you please come back to me thanks. Paul Cullen

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your e-mail.

For this years semi-finals, each team will receive approx 32,000 tickets, the FA football family approx 7000 and all remaining seats are located in Club Wembley.

Thank you for your reply.

However you are simply listing the allocation and either deliberately ignoring my question or you misunderstand it.

Why do the 2 clubs only receive 64,000 tickets? Why should the so called "FA family and Club Wembley" receive 26,000 tickets?

Do you as an organisation not understand that these tickets will largely appear on the black market at hugely inflated prices and that as usual you fail the genuine fans of both clubs? In addition to this do you not realise by doing so you increase the likelehood of mixed areas of fans and thus increase the chances of trouble at the match itself? No doubt if trouble should occur you will wring your hands and claim disgust while ignoring your own contribution to it!

Only once in my living memory have the FA issued a proper allocation to both clubs for such a game, this was the Liverpool versus Everton Cup Final in 1989 when you were shamed into doing so by the media coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

True to form you quietly reverted the allocations to the usual inadequate levels the following year and you continue to so. The breathtaking arrogance you continue to display towards football fans today is not only an insult to all of us but also to the 96 people who died on that day.

I would welcome a proper response to my query


Paul Cullen

Reader Comments

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Chris Briddon
1   Posted 17/03/2009 at 14:42:48

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But there are a reasonable number of tickets allocated to people who bought Wembley seats (meaning they are entiltled to a ticket for every event at Wembley.) These are the ones near the half way line that are always empty in obscure matches.

They don?t go on the black market as they are not for sale, in the same way that a season ticket holder' s ticket at Goodison doesn?t go up for sale if they can?t make the game.

It may seem like both sides get a relatively small allocation (although 32,000 is a lot more than we would have got from Villa Park etc), but a large number of other tickets were pre-sold so what do you expect them to do?
Alan Clarke
2   Posted 17/03/2009 at 14:43:14

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Each of the 92 league clubs receive an allocation of tickets for every football game at Wembley which makes up about 1,000 of the 7,000. Where the hell the others go is beond me. We must surely be able to get a break down of how the tickets are allocated through the Freedom of Information Act.

The problem is the FA are in massive financial problems as a result of the Wembley stadium and need to pay off the debt. That’s why the semis are now held at Wembley. Those extra 26,000 tickets which is 52,000 over the 2 days will bring in a shed load more income for them. We’ve all learned surely by now that this game is all about money.
Dave Wilson
3   Posted 17/03/2009 at 14:49:08

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Paul, You're pissing against the wind mate, I can remember the same questions beings asked back in '68 and virtually every year since, the allocation was even worse then, about 22,000 per club in a 100,000 capacity. The true fan will always find out were he stands when his team get to Wembley, unless you can afford a season ticket, you're out in the cold

Chris is right, a substantial number of tickets will be taken by people who have already bought the seat, but he?s being very naive if he believes they won't find their way onto the black market. The FA will get their money mate ? they don?t care about the true supporters... Shameful, but t'was ever thus.
Chris Dooley
4   Posted 17/03/2009 at 15:12:43

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It’s all about money. I’d love to know how much money the directors of the FA personally made from the new Wembley. Do you think that there is any way of finding out? Whenever we are told that things are in the best interests of the game it usually means that somebody is lining their pockets. I don’t think anything illegal has happened just that clearly Wembley has nothing to do with what fans want.
Stuart Downey
5   Posted 17/03/2009 at 15:35:28

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I’ve Been looking at the way the tickets are sold. How many can 1 season ticket holder buy? Will all season ticket holders get tickets?
Chris Halliday
6   Posted 17/03/2009 at 16:17:17

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How nice to already see tickets for this game already on the ?tout? sites for £230 and upwards; it's a good job they have gone to the "FA football family". I can not understand why people are becoming more disillusioned with football and in particular the people who run it.
Nick Entwistle
7   Posted 17/03/2009 at 16:13:37

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I work for a concierge service in London, and when a big 4 tie at Wembley comes along we’ll get a large number of requests from our clients for tickets, and the agency we use will ALWAYS have availability for tickets. It would be very interesting to know what percentage of tickets will be sold on by agents and touts. Every week Anfield, The Bridge, OT and Emmirates have hoards of sell on ticket buyers in attendance.

Though if you think the FA is shameful of their allocation, what about FIFA and the World Cup??? Sponsors, competition winners, FIFA Family take up way more seats.
Anthony Dyer
8   Posted 17/03/2009 at 16:52:25

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Anyone know where you can get a map of Wembley seating arrangements? (Apart from its own website, which keeps saying that the link is corrupt). Does anyone know which parts of the ground Everton have been allocated, i.e. North, South, East or West?
Kevin Roberts
9   Posted 17/03/2009 at 19:03:33

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Anthony, I?ve been told that we have the west end of the ground. But I don?t know how realiable that is.

Question I have with the ticket allocation is how many of the 32,000 or 31,825 are going to be sold to the fans? The reason is that my son is an Evertonia member and has been to nearly all the home games but it looks like he won?t get a ticket.

James Corbett
10   Posted 17/03/2009 at 20:45:29

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I’m afraid that Club Wembley subsidise the rest of us plebs. I was in the Corinthian suite as a guest for last year’s Portsmouth V West Brom semi. We got good seats, champagne on arrival along with a cooked breakfast, then booze at half time and after the match. The cost? £70. Take away those seats and you’d have to treble or quadruple prices for everyone else. That’s the reality of modern football, I’m afraid
Guy McEvoy
11   Posted 17/03/2009 at 23:02:15

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To be fair 32,000 tickets is the most tickets we?ve been allocated for an away game in decades It is more than enough that every single season ticket holder, sharedholder and regular (10+ games a year) fan will be able to go to. It is way more than we would have got at any ?neutral? ground alternative.

I?d save this argument for the final ? should we get there our allocation will be way, way less than the 32,000 at the semi.
Michael Coury
12   Posted 18/03/2009 at 03:58:35

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Oh man, You guys should try buying tickets to a national sporting event in the States. You think actual Fans are at the Super Bowl? The only reason fans get to go to A game of the World Series, Stanley Cup, NBA Finals is because there are at least 4 games played up too seven...

I was just telling my friends how luck you all were that you had 32K seats available to you... and here you all are complaining about the allocation - made me laugh is all..
Kevin Davies
13   Posted 18/03/2009 at 08:16:53

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James Corbett, how did you manage to get an invite to Club Wembley, or do you know who to contact to get a chance of getting seats with Club Wembley? I would willingly pay £70 for a ticket.
Alan Willo
14   Posted 18/03/2009 at 08:40:06

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What a stupid email to the FA! What the hell has the 96 fans that died got to do with EFC semi final? If they had held the '89 semi?s at Wembley, then those people would still be around today!

Some people are so blinkered, the ticket prices on offer to us fans are excellent value for money and the allocation of 32k is also way above the listed season tickets sales. I remember in the past we had to rely on us having the correct reference number on our season tickets for example if your number ended in 9 you missed out on a Wembley ticket.

Get on with it idiots! This will be a great day out for us all when we have all season ticket holders plus an additional 3/4k club members and anybody who can get a Club Wembley ticket. Enjoy the day, back the team and watch us get to the final!!!! EFC!

Dave Graham
15   Posted 18/03/2009 at 09:26:35

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Whilst I agree with your sentiment regarding the amount of tickets that go to people other than the supporters of the 2 clubs, I think your description of this as an insult to the people who died at Hillsborough is not only wrong, but also extremely crass.
James Corbett
16   Posted 18/03/2009 at 09:42:23

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Sorry, my post should have read that my semi-final ticket last year cost £700 ? not £70. Thankfully I didn?t pay it!
Ian Campbell
17   Posted 18/03/2009 at 10:24:48

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Basically a pointless e-mail. Our average attendance has been under 37,000 this year so anything over 30,000 is enough considering those that travel away also.

I think that this e-mail may have been sent because of the writers personal situation that perhaps he is not guaranteed a ticket.

As for the comment about allocation of Everton tickets that is down to Everton rather than the FA.

Comment on Hillsborough smacks of desperation.
Tim Wardrop
18   Posted 18/03/2009 at 12:28:19

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As a STH with 6 away stubs from the Prem, plus Liverpool away in the cup and home cup stubs I?m pretty much first in the queue, which is fair enough, considering the money I?ve spent on the club this year, and in others, so I?m really not complaining.

However, one thing I would say is that out of the 14 home league games we?ve had this season I?ve actually only been to 8 of them ? six I?ve had to miss because I?ve been out of the country on holiday, or tied up with work at the last minute, or some other stupid commitment. I bet there are supporters out there who have been to more home games this season without being a STH and possibly almost as many aways. They?re the ones I feel a bit sorry for: they maybe don?t see the point in getting a season ticket coz Goodison never sells out, follow the club to a few away games, and as a result are going to struggle to get a ticket!

Despite that, I?ve got to say that 32,000 is a fantastic allocation. The 7,000 for the FA family will be split amongst groups like FA employees, amateur football clubs / leagues, schools and community projects associated with the FA and (hate to say it) sponsors. But really though, the allocation we?ve got is fantastic.

What is distressing though is that the allocation for the final will only be about 25,000, as more people in the FA family will want tickets.

For non-STHs: don?t panic just yet: remember we have under 30,000 STH and executive members, some of whom won?t be able to go, so there will be tickets available, if you?ve been to enough games this season.
Brian Donnelly
19   Posted 18/03/2009 at 12:44:12

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I went to the FA Cup Final in '83 (Brighton v Man Utd) because I won a ticket in a raffle (ESCLA I think). I didn?t really want to go, but didn?t know anyone who deserved the ticket and I?d never been to a cup final before ? also didn?t want the ticket to end up on the black market. Little did I realise that I?d also be there the next 3 years on the trot!

I used to play Saturday football in the SOL (way, way down the pyramid). Each year the club I played for had the option of going into a draw where so many cup final tickets were distributed to clubs associated with the FA. Unfortunately, I don?t know how many tickets are distributed this way but there are thousands & thousands of clubs/referees etc which are all in with a chance of a final ticket. A lot of these probably end up on the black market.

Anyway, in '95 the team I played for were allocated 2 tickets for the cup final, so myself & a Man U fan got them. I only went to 7 games in the 94-95 season (inc. the cup final) and I think it?s completely wrong that tickets are allocated this way, but having got one I wasn?t going to give it away.

As for 32,000 for the semi, I don?t think it?s too bad. A fair number of season ticket holders will be put off by the fact it?s on a Sunday ? so there might be more spare tickets than what you may think. Anyway I?ve got season ticket so I?m alright!

It?s the Final allocation that could be the big worrry.
Leighton Cooper
20   Posted 18/03/2009 at 13:24:10

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The Club Wembley members have the option to put the tickets back on resale to other members, there are already tickets going on sale from £119 to £289, which is just for a seat in that middle ring in Wembley. The Corinthians/Bobby Moore Club tickets, which include the champagne, lunch, ht/ft beers range from £349-£699.

The allocation for the final will only be about 20-25,000 per club.

Steven Baker
21   Posted 18/03/2009 at 16:29:50

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Quite an immature response to the FA?s reply I thought. Why speculate on a purely hyperthetical scenario such as crowd trouble? Very odd that you would publish this on a heavily visited forum.
Paul Cullen
22   Posted 18/03/2009 at 19:02:35

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For information and in the interest of fairness please see below a subsequent reply now received from the FA:

Dear Paul,

From the total capacity, certain seats are not available for sale on grounds of segregation. Additionally a certain number of seats are located in the Club Wembley areas of the stadium on Level Two. Due to the worldwide appeal of the event, a number of seats are also used to accommodate the broadcasters and media that cover the event from around the globe.

Finally, as The FA?s showpiece event at the end of the season, tickets are made available to the Football Family. The Football Family is made up of all the clubs who participated in this season's FA Cup, FA Partners and the local County Football Associations who organise football throughout England. All other tickets are made available for the supporters of the two competing teams.

Playing the Semi-Finals at Wembley is part of the stadium?s business plan which allowed The FA to build a 90,000 seater national stadium, but with the significantly greater number of tickets available this will allow more fans to attend each of the showpiece fixtures. In turn, this will generate more income for The FA to reinvest back into the game at all levels ? The FA is a non-profit organisation.

We do appreciate the frustrations involved when supporters miss out on obtaining tickets for big matches. However, with a match of this importance involving two such big clubs it is impossible to satisfy the demand for tickets. Regards,

Just for the record in terms of some of the comments that the original article provoked, I don?t think i made any reference to ticket prices and how tickets are to be allocated by Everton. As a former season ticket holder myself it is obvious to me that season ticket holders and people who have been to lots of games should be first in the queue and I have no issue with this or the ticket prices.

I am quite comfortable with the prospect of not attending as I am very aware that there will be many more deserving Evertonians and for that matter Man U fans.

My observation was purely in regard to the remaining 26,000 tickets. I also had no illusions that my contact with the FA would make any difference although to be fair to them they have taken the time to reply.

In terms of the references to Hillsborough I can see why people might feel that this was born out of desperation. However, it is perhaps dangerous to make assumptions about peoples? motives.

I guess you only have my word for it but the only other time I have contacted the FA was in 1990 to make the same point when they dropped the allocation for the final that year from the more generous levels they had allocated in 1989. Obviously I had no personal interest then but felt just as strong then as I do now that by not continuing the same levels of allocations on an ongoing basis they undermined the gesture they made in 1989.

Of course I would like to be at the semi-final but my original motivation was to register my concerns with the FA ? it was certainly not intended to be crass in anyway to the Hillsborough Disaster ? quite the reverse.

Mark Scarratt
23   Posted 19/03/2009 at 00:34:49

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We have played 19 home games in all competitions so far this season.
Our average home attendance is 35,254.
Therefore our allocation of almost 32,000 tickets seems very fair.

Not that I have any sympathy for Man Utd, but they average 75,000 for every home match and I believe have the same allocation as us.

Assuming that all if not most of our away supporters also attend every home game, that means we can cater for just over 91% of our supporters, wheras Utd will only get tickets for just over 42% of theirs.

I know we could probably sell more tickets, but quite simply, the fans that go all season, especially away, should always have priority for tickets.
Mark Scarratt
24   Posted 19/03/2009 at 00:44:21

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I forgot to mention that included in our average gate you can probably say that approx 2,000 of those are away fans. So in reality we only average 33,254 Everton fans at each home game. That makes the allocation even fairer.
Dave Roberts
25   Posted 19/03/2009 at 08:59:57

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Brian Donnelly,

I sure do hope it pans out that a big worry for me is the ticket allocation for the final!!
Jacky Chan
26   Posted 19/03/2009 at 12:48:54

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I live in HK and want to fly to London to watch the semi-final. Do you know where can I buy the tickets?
Peter Smith
27   Posted 25/03/2009 at 14:13:16

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Hi Jacky
I think you should try Hong Kong Airways!!

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