It shouldn't be a privilege to watch football, says Bilic

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 1st October 2015

Slaven Bilic has told the media top flight matches should be affordable to all football fans - just 48 hours before supporters across the country plan a mass protest against the cost of watching Premier League fixtures.

This weekend home and away supporters will join forces to deliver the 'Twenty's Plenty' message - a call for all away tickets in England and Wales to be capped at ?20.

Fans from every Premier League club - along with several in the Football League - will meet ahead of this weekend's fixtures for joint protests, before displaying banners inside stadiums proclaiming 'Fans back Twenty's Plenty'.

And Bilic, speaking to the media ahead of West Ham's trip to Sunderland this weekend, backed fans who believe they are being held to ransom by top flight football clubs.

"Football is not golf or polo for VIPs, for the elite," said Bilic. "Football is the people's sport, it is a sport for the masses. It shouldn't be a privilege to be able to go by yourself, with your mates, your girlfriend, your wife or kids to a football game. It should be there for everybody.

"On the other hand you have the clubs and teams who are building new stadiums. They invest big money in those great stadiums, they want money back and put the ticket prices up.

"For me they should find a balance because the fans are very important for this sport. You see fans in every sport but football games are not just about the quality of the game, they are about the atmosphere at the ground - and that is created by the fans.

"So you need fans. Without the fans, it's useless. It shouldn't be a privilege for some people to take their kids - everybody should be able to do that."

The 'Twenty's Plenty' campaign began in 2013 when high away ticket prices were the catalyst, with many away fans expected to pay in excess of ?50 or even ?60 for tickets.

Since then, the campaign has grown and secured improvements for away fans. Premier League clubs have introduced the ?12m 'Away Supporters Initiative' while more teams in the Football League are now entering into ?20 reciprocal deals for away fans.

It has been claimed that the 'Twenty's Plenty' scheme has already saved fans across the country more than ?700,000.

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