The great Wales v England ticket fiasco
Well in Welsh football there appears to be only one Talking Point-tickets for the England v Wales Euro Qualifier or in the case of Porthmadog, Neath, Newport and Wrexham at least –the lack of them. All four clubs have announced in recent days that they have not received their allocation of tickets, which they all had ordered, before the FAW imposed deadline o 18 February.
In late December 2010 the FAW wrote to clubs promoting a ‘Kickback’ scheme for match tickets whereby clubs could get 25% cash back on all sales of tickets. Faced with Wales’ abysmal recent record it seems likely that the FAW feared that they would not sell-out this prestigious international, as a result they hatched this plan by providing clubs with financial incentives.
It shows just how out of touch the FAW are, since most clubs have hardly two 10p pieces to rub together, it was always going to be a popular scheme. In the original letter the FAW helpfully illustrated the advantage of the scheme thus, “the purchase of 100 adults’ tickets at £25 per ticket has a face value of £2,500. With the ‘Kickback’ scheme this order would equate to £625 cash back.” It appears therefore they were hoping for big orders from clubs. The application form had to be returned by 31 January. Midway through January the FAW sent all clubs a letter extending this deadline to Friday, 18 February –bizarrely the letter claims the deadline was extended “due to popular demand.” Surely if demand was high clubs should have been encouraged to get the form in quickly rather than told they had almost three weeks to send them.
Would it not have been better to set maximum order for each club therefore ensuring that all clubs got some tickets and then if there were some left over clubs who had ordered the maximum could be approached to see if they wanted more? That would have ensured all clubs would have at least had some tickets. The latest ticketing dispute follows the revelation by the FAW last month that 1,500 tickets were sold that did not exist. It forced the FAW to ask 951 England fans and 549 Welsh supporters to return their tickets. Officials issued an apology stating there had been an “administrative error.”
When added together the whole episode does not show the FAW in a good light once again. The FAW has managed to anger fans and clubs and possibly soured the relationship between clubs and their own fans. It is remarkable how often the FAW seem to manage to antagonise the various stakeholders in Welsh football. I could say more but I would only get myself into trouble.
Talking Point (Match Programme March 12th 2011)