A commitment was made to review the cup final ticketing policy in response to fan feedback regarding the allocation process and selection criteria.
Specifically, fans queried membership longevity and home and away attendance and how much this is taken into account. Fans also felt that the policy should include or recognise in some way those members who have been unsuccessful in previous years.
The club has looked at all these points and assessed whether immediate changes could be made. It is important to note we continue to work with the FA and others to improve the allocation of tickets clubs receive for these special occasions.
Findings and outcomes
We have a very loyal and strong fanbase with many more season ticket holders than tickets available for any final that we are likely to reach. The policy review has also considered the option to increase the number of credits normally required for qualification (currently three).
Our findings have identified that increasing the number of credits would negatively impact many season ticket holders with a long tenure and therefore is not something we will be amending.
Our belief has always been that the fairest system is to provide a preferential right to those on the away ticket scheme and those who have attended a certain number of away games in the two years before the final.
After that, the fairest way is to run a completely random ballot for all remaining season ticket holders, rather than what would be a subjective assessment of who is most deserving. We will continue to adopt this approach.
One change we are implementing following feedback from fans is that should we compete in consecutive finals, those season ticket holders who missed out in the random ballot the first time will get preference the next time.
This will be based on the same competition in consecutive years (subject to allocations). This starts from this current season 2015/16. This means that if we are in a final this season the current standard policy would run, however if we are in a final the following season 2016/17 the consecutive season policy would be activated.
Ultimately the key issue is that we just do not have enough tickets and a large number of our season ticket holders (all of which are deserving) will miss out. In regard to the FA Cup specifically, we continue to lobby the FA firmly regarding this.
We hope the review and changes we have made to the cup final policy will be positively received by fans and thank all for their feedback and support.
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