Following the discounted community ticket debate of this week there has been much talk on twitter and West Ham forums about a 18 Year West Ham fan allegedly fined £1,100 and banned for Life from West ham for using an under 16 ticket.
I often find although there is an element of truth in these internet rumours some of the facts are wrong or misleading. I have spoken to a source close to the club and the fan in question himself to get to the bottom of this story. I understand the 18 year old fan was arrested in the East Stand during the Manchester City game last weekend.
As there is an ongoing police investigation it wouldn’t be fair to name the fan or discuss any details to prejudice that investigation.
The price of East Stand renewal of Season Ticket (Band 2) for a young adult (under 22) is £410 this season while the Under 16 season ticket is £255. That works out a short fall of £155 per season. If you multiple this by two seasons than you get £310 plus the difference of a large number of away games which takes it up to the £1100 talked about in tweets and forums.
However this is not a fine imposed by the club. This is what they are asking for back in lost revenue.
I understand the club has written to the fan this week and suspended his season ticket card and banned him from the ground until the £1100 is paid back. Not exactly the life ban that some have suggested unless the debt remains unpaid for life.
We all know this is wrong but but I can’t help feel sorry for this fan who made a mistake as a young adult and is now paying the price.
Many will point to the high prices of season tickets for a 18 year but the price of Band 2 ticket rises from Under 16 £255 to £410 for a Young Adult until they reach the age of 22. That is a 50% discount on the full £820 price for an adult season ticket which many pay over the age of 22.
Some West Ham fans have pointed to a David Gold quote “back to those early years in the East End. Back then, with no money, there was one thing I could do. I could bunk into West Ham Football Club at half-time for free”
I suppose It all goes to prove we all do silly things when we are younger. How much sympathy the police give to this young man remains to be seen. Hopefully he may get a second chance in life but I don’t think that is in the hands of the club.
Amanda Jacks from the Football Supporters Federation recently blogged about the right of appeal for Club bans. She says…
“Clubs have the legal right to ban whoever they like (so long as they don’t break equality laws). But surely there must be adequate appeals processes in place for fans who feel they’ve been unfairly treated? Not always, and different clubs handle things in very different ways. It’s rare for a football club to operate any type of “due process” when banning supporters from their ground. We’ve heard from fans banned for all manner of reasons and, in our experience, it can take considerable time to get their bans lifted. We recognise that clubs have every right to refuse admission to supporters but feel such a drastic step should only be taken after both sides have been heard – a transparent banning process that gives a supporter the chance to have their say. Even when a Football Banning Order has not been handed out, or a fan has been acquitted by the courts, clubs sometimes choose to ban fans from their stadium. Is this reasonable? The majority of clubs offer no processes or procedures acting as judge, jury and executioner, which leaves fans at the whim of the club Safety Officer who is often behind such decisions. Thanks to ticket Terms & Conditions supporters have no right to a refund for games missed if they are season ticket holders meaning, effectively, clubs are imposing a financial penalty as well as depriving the supporter of the ability to support his or her team”
The full article can be found here