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Senior citizens receive a poor deal from Arsenal

Senior citizens receive a poor deal from Arsenal

Arsenal are the only club in English football who do not allow senior citizens to sit next to family or friends and receive a concessionary price. Arsenal and Tottenham are the only clubs in all of English football who put a limit on the number of seats allocated to senior citizens at a concessionary price.

Arsenal and Tottenham restrict senior citizens at a concessionary price to 8% and 24% respectively of their seats, whereas the other 18 clubs have concessionary access to all parts of the other stadiums in the rest of the Premier League which means clubs allow applications for at least 90% of their seats to adults and senior citizens equally. Thus, Arsenal offer the least number of ticket options or packages to senior citizens in the Premier League.

Arsenal keep the prices of senior citizens at the full adult price because if they gave concessions to senior citizens they would suffer “a significant loss in ticket income” according to what Ivan Worsell (Ticketing & Services Director) told me. Arsenal supporters hate being bottom of any league so I helped to lauch a campaign to lift them off the bottom of the senior citizens league table.

Arsenal will not divulge how many senior citizen season ticket holders they have because it would be “against the policy of the club” according to Mr. Worsell. So, we have to guess. Let us estimate that there are 5,000 senior citizens out of the 33,000 season ticket holders. If they were given the average concessionary discount from the Premier League clubs of 32% the senior citizen concessionary season ticket price at the Emirates would be £952 (£1400 – 32%).

This would mean a discount of £448. 5000 senior citizens are being overcharged 5000 x £448 = £2,240,000. This, of course, does not include the overcharging of senior citizens on match day tickets around the ground which might easily double this figure. This means senior citizens could be overcharged £4,480.000 per season.

Of course the discount could be a different level, which would mean the cost to the Club would be considerably less than these figures. For me the mot important thing is that Arsenal remove their insistence that reduced prices are only available in one section of the stadium. I attended a meeting on the subject with the Club; it was constructive and friendly and the current policy was descibed as an “embarrassment” by a Club official.

It is my belief that the existing Arsenal policies of restricting concessionary season-tickets to the Family Enclosure breaks their own rules as well as the Premier League’s rules. Equally importantly, through my work with AISA, I have discovered that this issue causes much distress, with long-terms supporters of the Club being extremely upset at being forced to chose between sitting alone to obtain a reduced-price ticket or staying with friends and family and paying the full price.

It is not a choice that anyone should be forced to make. I enrolled my son as a Junior Gunner 20 years ago, and we’ve sat together ever since. I travel up from Fareham for every match so my travel costs are substantial even with a one-third discount on the train. Nil discount to my season ticket feels like a kick in the teeth.

Arsenal should adjust their policy and act in a decent way towards long-term supporters whose income is often significantly reduced when they retire. In other areas Arsenal policies are more enlightened. We are rated fourth in the Premier League for our policies for disabled supporters regarding wheelchair spaces. I would like us to be top of every league but for senior citizens fourth would be a massive improvement; time for a change.


Brian Williams campaigns on ticketing issues and how they affect senior citizens. He represents AISA on the issue and can be contacted at brian.williams@aisa.org

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