The FA's decision to increase ticket prices for the 2018 FA Cup semi-finals and final "defies belief" say supporter groups from the competing teams.
A joint statement by the Chelsea Supporters' Trust, Manchester United Supporters' Trust, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust and Southampton fans criticised the FA for increasing the price of semi-final ticket by up to £20 and final ticket by up to £30.
"The decision to raise prices for the FA Cup semi-finals and finals to the highest levels ever defies belief," the joint statement from supporters said. "The FA itself is in better financial health than ever. So we cannot see the rationale for hiking prices."
Yesterday, the FA announced the price hike as part of a Q&A with Andy Ambler, the FA’s director of professional game relations. Ambler defended the rise, arguging that this is the first increase in the pricing for three-years.
"The Emirates FA Cup semi-final and final are some of the most prestigious events in the sporting calendar and these new prices are in line with many of these events," Ambler said. "It’s always important to remember that The FA is a not-for-profit organisation where every pound and penny of profit is reinvested back into every level of football in England.
"If you’re buying a ticket for the semi-final or the final you are directly investing in the future of the game in this country."
Supporters remain unconvinced, arguing that against the backdrop of the competition's largest ever TV deal ticket prices should not be increasing.
The supporter groups said: "Once again the people who are the lifeblood of the game, the paying customers, were not consulted or even given advance notice. Like it or lump it is the clear message.
"Supporters of all four clubs have already spent a fortune following their teams from round three onwards.
"Our reward for reaching the last four is price rises 10-times the rate of inflation.
"These price increases further illustrate the longstanding issue we have with the FA as both the regulator of the game as well as the worst offender when it comes to excessive ticket prices for fans."
Now supporters are urging the FA to rethink the new pricing for the FA Cup semi-finals and final - pointing out that there is still time to do so as tickets have still yet to go on sale to any of the competing teams.
"We expect better from a body that claims to be the guardian of the game, especially in the oldest and most famous cup competition in world football," the statement said. "The FA still has time to rethink. It should."
Thanks to Chelsea Debs for the image used in this article. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.