CPST letter to CPFC re Season Ticket Renewals

8th September, 2020

The Trust has submitted the following letter to the club regarding the processes for season ticket renewals.

 

We are writing to you to set out the position of the Crystal Palace Supporters’ Trust on the Season ticket provision for this year.

We appreciate that the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for football clubs and that there are undoubtedly business considerations that need to be taken into account. However, we are extremely concerned with the current offering that has been made to existing and potential Season ticket holders for the following reasons: –

Renewal of existing Season Tickets

  1. Asking fans to pay the full price of a 17 game Season ticket upfront and only refunding the money at the end (or asking it to be rolled over into the following year’s Season ticket purchase) is deeply unfair. You are asking fans to effectively lend money to the club until the end of the season. You know that fans will not be able to attend every game but are taking money for games that you will not be able to give them tickets for. This is at a time when a lot of fans find themselves either on reduced income or out of work entirely.
  2. The process of how allocations will work, what notice fans will be given, and what arrangements will be made to ensure safety in the ground have not been provided. Fans are expected to make a considerable financial commitment without the information they need to make an informed decision. This is not an acceptable or fair way of doing business.
  3. The option to pay by instalments has been removed to be replaced by a finance scheme. This has several disadvantages notably an interest rate of 12.15% APR and the fact that some fans who previously have paid by instalments with no problems have been refused credit and are unable to renew. It also means that the club are asking the poorest of their fans to lend them money for free whilst directing them to a lender who will charge the fans an effective interest rate of 12.15%. This is extremely disappointing.

Season Ticket Deferral

  1. This is only available to persons who are “shielding”. As shielding is no longer in place it is difficult to know what is meant by this. Different fans have been given different information. It also appears that it is not available to fans who have family members who are vulnerable.
  2. Fans are being asked to provide potentially sensitive medical information to someone from the box office who is presumably not trained to make clinical judgements on specific situations. This is insensitive and demeaning and results in a lottery as to whether people are accepted as being “entitled” to pay £200 to reserve their Season ticket for the following year.
  3. The payment of £200 is unnecessary. The club are not losing money as the seats cannot be used in any event at present. Should the ground open up before the end of the season then there is no reason why the club should not sell the tickets to one off attendees so long as the seats are available for next year. Sadly, this policy means that the Club are asking its most vulnerable fans to give them a seasons long loan of £200, a sum which must be minimal when considering the club’s overall income but which is likely to cause hardship to those who are entitled to apply. These will predominantly be fans with a disability or older fans who do not even get a concession rate for their reservation payment.

It is particularly disappointing to see Palace’s offer in the light of the other available offers from similar clubs.  For example, Brighton have a particularly fair system which has clearly been designed with fans in mind.

While it is too late to completely change the system it could easily be made better to take the concerns of fans onboard

We urge the Club to do the following as soon as possible: –

  1. Extend the deadline to decide to the end of the month. There is no need for fans to decide immediately. There will be no attendance at games in September and our first home game in October is not until 17th. In the additional time publish details of the Clubs response plan for Covid 19, set out what the match day experience will involve, how matches will be allocated and how much notice will be given. This will allow fans to make an informed choice
  2.  Extend the defer to 2021/22 option to everyone who isn’t comfortable returning during a pandemic, regardless of reason or medical history, with no requirement for medical evidence.
  3. Provide partial refunds within 14 days after each match for which a ST holder is unsuccessful in the ballot – this is something that both West Ham and Everton are offering and their Season Ticket take up has been good as fans appreciate that they have been considered and are getting a fair deal.
  4. Reintroduce the Direct Debit option for those fans who are unable to pay upfront even if only for this season then at least fans will not be being asked to lend the club money at considerable cost to themselves.We would suggest that the above is not only fair to fans but also makes good business sense as more fans are likely to renew and/or defer if the above measures are put in place and this will benefit the club both for long term goodwill and short term cash flow.

    CPST Board

    8 September 2020

     

     

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