LONDON, England, October 18- Despite the economic gloom gripping Britain, the cost of attending football matches has risen more than five times the rate of inflation since last year.
The cheapest adult tickets in the top four divisions of English football have gone up by 11.7 per cent, according to the BBC’s Price of Football survey, which recorded the most expensive and cheapest, season and adult match day tickets across Britain, as well as the cost of a cup of tea, a pie and a programme.
Arsenal have the most expensive adult match day ticket at £126 (Sh17,375.4) and season ticket at £1,955 (Sh269,594), while Scottish Football League Division Three side Montrose’s are the cheapest at £9 and £90 respectively.
The cheapest season ticket available to watch the Gunners still costs more than the most expensive season tickets on offer at all but three of their Premier League rivals.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation stood at 2.2 per cent last month, down from 2.5 per cent in August, but the BBC’s survey found the average cost of the cheapest ticket had gone up 11.7 per cent.
Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, has called for clubs to cut the price of tickets, calling Arsenal’s pricing ‘shocking’.
‘Despite the difficult economic times we live in, prices at some clubs and at some levels of the game are still exceedingly high,’ he told the BBC. ‘It is quite shocking that at Arsenal, for example, the cheapest season ticket is only £15 short of £1,000.
‘We would like to see a much greater effort to reduce ticket prices and in particular give the benefit of the massive amounts of media income that comes in at the top of the game to the match-going fan.’
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis defended his club’s ticket-pricing policy, saying the cost rises are reflective of a wider issue in sport and insisting that the club still offers good value tickets.
Top-price matchday tickets at the Emirates Stadium are £126, but the cheapest league ticket is £26, a £9 reduction on last season.
‘We’ve seen ticket prices rise across the game,’ Gazidis said. ‘This isn’t just a football issue.
‘If you look at the prices of entertainment across the board they have gone up significantly in recent years and clearly we now have an environment where people are economically challenged.
‘What we have done is try to hold those prices down, for example our Capital One Cup prices have been £10 for adults and £5 for children.