Liverpool’s owners on Wednesday apologised and scrapped controversial plans to hike Anfield ticket prices after 10,000 fans walked out of the ground in protest at the weekend.
Principal owner John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner acted after legions of angry Reds fans stormed out of the ground in the 77th minute of Saturday’s home game against Sunderland.
The timing reflected the £77 ($112, 99 euros) being asked for the most expensive ticket at Anfield next season.
As a result of Saturday’s mutiny, the club’s owners announced a number of changes to their initial proposals in a structure which will also remain for the 2017/18 season.
Revenue generated from ticket prices will be frozen at 2015-16 levels; this means the highest match-day price for a general admission ticket will remain at £59 — the lowest will be £9 and these tickets will be offered for every match with an allocation of 10,000 across the season.
The highest season ticket price will be frozen at £869 — after fears it would break through the £1,000 barrier — and the lowest £685.
“It has been a tumultuous week,” said an open letter jointly signed by Henry and Werner.
“On behalf of everyone at Fenway Sports Group and Liverpool Football Club we would like to apologise for the distress caused by our ticket pricing plan for the 2016/17 season.
“We were strongly engaged in the process to develop the ticketing plan for 2016/2017.
“We met directly with representatives of LFC’s Supporters’ Committee and along with LFC management, wholeheartedly agreed with major concerns raised, notably: access for local and young supporters; engagement and access to Anfield for local children; access to Premier League matches for those in Liverpool most challenged by affordability.
“We believe the plan successfully addressed these concerns and are disappointed that these elements have been either lost or, worse, characterised as cynical attempts to mask profiteering in the plan as a whole.
“Rather, we prefer to look at them as the parts of the ticketing plan we got right.
“On the other hand, part of the ticketing plan we got wrong.”
Liverpool supporters groups welcomed the u-turn by the owners, saying it was a warning that fans have to be respected.
“Today’s announcement has to be seen as a positive step in repairing the relationship between owners and supporters,” said the Spirit of Shankly group in a statement.
“If they had recognised what was being said by supporters about the impact of the original price rises (perhaps by actually meeting with their own Ticketing Working Group) then much of the embarrassment and upset of the last four days would have been avoided.
“It is a sobering lesson in listening to your supporters properly.” – Agence France-Presse