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Manchester United fans consider legal action over Chelsea away numbers

Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) say the decision to cut their away allocation for the upcoming match at Chelsea at short notice is “a shambles” and sets “a disgraceful precedent”.

The Premier League confirmed on Friday that the match between the two sides will be held at 5.30pm on Saturday 22nd October after months of wrangling over the kick-off time.

Manchester United’s away ticket allocation has also been reduced by 624, down to 2,370, because of policing concerns raised by London’s Metropolitan Police. Due to this interference, MUST say they are now considering legal action against the force.

As previously reported on the FSA site, the fixture between the two sides was selected for broadcast back in July without a set kick-off time and a slot was not agreed until last Friday, leaving supporters hanging on with travel and accommodation arrangements.

Last week, Chelsea fans criticised the Premier League for allowing the game to be selected for broadcast, despite the fact that it was certain to be moved again due to a predictable Champions League fixture clash.

A MUST statement said: “We are now considering legal action against the Met Police on behalf of our fans affected by this decision to reduce our allocation, after tickets have been sold to fans in good faith, many of whom will have booked travel.

“A match reaching a point a few weeks before being played without a confirmed time is a terrible precedent which could have easily been avoided.

“We find it abhorrent and a disgraceful precedent that an away allocation has been cut weeks before a game and after tickets have been allocated.”

MUST said it is consulting lawyers over the matter and urged the Premier League to look at policing, away allocations and late decision-making.

“This fixture has been a shambles by the authorities collectively, and regardless of any buck passing, as usual it’s fans left as the losers from it all,” said MUST.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said it stands with MUST and also criticised the decision.

“Kick-off announced with 15 days’ notice and away allocation reduced. This confirms that as long as the game can be broadcast, supporters are disposable,” the trust said.

“This is an insult and sets a dangerous precedent.”

Conditional picks: What does the FSA think?

This is already the second time this season that Chelsea supporters have had their schedule disrupted by poorly-planned TV selections.

Back in August, their game against West Ham United was selected by broadcasters for a Sunday afternoon kick-off, but had to be moved again once the Champions League draw had Chelsea playing on Tuesday night.

The clash had to be moved back to a Saturday 3pm kick-off, leaving supporters inconvenienced and out of pocket on travel. Supporter groups from both teams described it as “predictable farce”, saying the Premier League and its partner broadcasters were treating matchgoing fans with “complete contempt”.

Supporters are all too familiar with TV’s impact on the schedule – a growing source of irritation for years.

Adding to the frustration has been a lack of communication about the cause of delays to TV selections and fixture rearrangements when clashes emerge.

With neither clubs, the Premier League nor broadcasters taking responsibility, the FSA has been pushing for answers.

In our supporter engagement meetings with the Premier League, fan reps have been told by the league that they will do better, particularly on communication.

But this “predictable farce” of conditional picks is a repeat problem that neither the Premier League nor broadcasters have tackled, despite supporters’ groups flagging it time and again. It isn’t good enough.

 

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