Over the weekend we sent the following letter to the FA regarding the ticketing allocation at the Emirates:
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to you on behalf of the Everton Supporters Group The Blue Union regarding the recent ticket fiasco for Everton’s quarterfinal tie against Arsenal at the Emirates.
As I am sure you are aware, Rule 21 (a) of the FA rules for the FA Cup state:
21. DISTRIBUTION OF TICKETS
(a) All Rounds Preceding the Semi-Finals
In all matches preceding the Semi-Finals, the Visiting Club shall have the right to claim up to 15% of all accommodation for which tickets are issued providing these tickets are in a fully segregated area.
We understand that Everton Football Club applied for the full allocation of 9000 tickets for the tie, however were denied the full allocation and instead received a reduced allocation of 5100. The reason for this was due to “Safety issues from persistent standing and the use of smoke bombs/pyrotechnics in the upper tiers of the Emirates stadium”.
We fully respect decisions made on health & safety grounds. The health & safety of both Everton and Arsenal fans are of paramount importance, however we do have a number of concerns with the decision made.
Everton have not been the first team that has been unfairly treated in this manner. In previous matches both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have also received reduced allocation for similar reasons, however in the fourth round of the competition Arsenal had a home draw against Coventry City who was offered the full allocation of 9000 seats.
- Why is a Club who has more arrests per 1000 supporters than Everton, Liverpool or Tottenham deemed to be safer in the upper tier?
- If the Upper Tier in the Emirates is deemed unsafe, why then is it still open to home supporters?
- Have the Safety Advisory Group taken into consideration historical issues that Evertonians have suffered in the lower tier at the Emirates, in particular the times that objects such as coins have been thrown by Arsenal fans in the upper tiers onto Evertonians in the lower tiers?
Please view the linked video for proof of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlLknsUIAOc&feature=youtu.be
- If the upper tier is deemed unsafe for standing, how has the ground received a safety certificate in the first place?
- Have the Safety Advisory Board taken into consideration Everton’s previous away ties in the FA Cup in recent years were larger than usual ticket allocations have been given with little to no problems in or around the stadiums?
- If accommodating the fans in the upper tier was deemed unsafe could Arsenal not have accommodated the full 9000 allocation in the lower tier considering the capacity for this part of the stadium is just under 25,000?
- Why is it deemed safe for people to stand and consume alcohol in the upper tiers when the Emirates hosts various concerts, yet decides that it is unsafe for Football Supporters to do so?
As a group we are writing to you, the Football Association, raising the above points, as we believe the decision to reduce the allocation is not only a draconian measure but a flagrant disregard for the rules of the competition, and sets a dangerous precedent that could impact supporters in the future.
Everton has a rich history in the FA Cup, something that Evertonians are immensely proud of. The ties, either home or away, are some of the most highly anticipated fixtures of the season, and in light of the blatant contradictions and double standards that the resulting decision that the Safety Advisory Board has come to is at best poor treatment of the biggest stakeholders in the competition of one of the best supported Clubs in the country, and at worst an obvious attempt to give the home team a greater advantage. We all know how influential a vocal support can be in these kinds of games.
As we have stated, the health and safety of both Arsenal and Everton fans are paramount in this fixture, however the decision the Safety Advisory Group has come to discriminates against the majority of Evertonians who want nothing more than to enjoy a game of football in one of the best stadiums in the country in the greatest domestic Cup competition on the planet.
If the Safety Advisory Board feel that in the past Evertonians are guilty of persistent standing and setting off pyrotechnics then surely question marks need to be raised about the stewarding and policing inside and outside of the ground instead of the draconian measures being taken out on the majority of supporters instead of the individuals guilty of breaking the ground rules and regulations?
We ask you, the FA, as a matter of urgency to take all the above points into account and investigate fully the motives behind the decisions made by the Safety Advisory Group. This decision is just another in a long line of decisions made that discriminate and prejudice against the average football supporter.
As fully affiliated members of the Football Supporters Federation we will not let this matter rest until all football fans, not just Evertonians are treated with the dignity and respect other supporters of other sports are afforded.
Football authorities, including you, would do well to remember that Football without fans is nothing.
Thank you for your time and we hope to hear from you soon,
Secretary: The Blue Union