Arsenal have been at the forefront of talks with the FA for more tickets to be made available to fans of clubs competing in the FA Cup Final, but the campaign is set to fail.
Last season Arsenal played Aston Villa in the Wembley showpiece, yet just 50,000 of the 90,000 tickets went to the clubs involved in the game, meaning thousands of season ticket holders missed out.
Of course guaranteeing tickets to everyone is impossible, but a game such a the FA Cup Final should surely have as many fans involved as possible? The Gunners have asked clubs not competing in the game to return tickets handed out by The FA and have said they will do so should they not reach the final this season.
The wider ‘football family’ received a staggering 23,000 tickets for last season’s FA Cup Final, with at least 10% of tickets handed to local FA branches returned. FA Councillors also handed back 25% of their allocation, but National Game directors are opposing the proposal that far more tickets should be made available to fans through their clubs.
Ivan Gazidis has spoken out about the poor management of the ticket allocations in each of the previous two seasons, yet nothing has been done. The National Game are suggesting a middle ground which would see county FAs decide who qualifies for the tickets handed out to them each year.
Either way, something has to be done. To have a 90,000-seater stadium for a cup final is terrific, but what’s the point if only 50,000 fans actually get to attend? It’s a symptom of so much wrong in the game now, where fans aren’t put first, and it has to change.