The club meets with the Fans Working Group (FWG) to unveil their plans for a membership scheme for the 2016/17 season. The group includes members of the Hull City Supporters Trust (HCST) and the Hull City Official Supporters Club (HCOSC). All members of the group are asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before the meeting.
News of the scheme is leaked to Radio Humberside sports reporter David Burns forcing the club to explain the scheme before it’s official release.
The traditional pay-upfront season ticket is scrapped and replaced with a “fairer and simpler” membership scheme with loyalty rewards. Different price zones are introduced in each stand. Everyone pays the same price irrespective of age and status.
Concerns are raised by supporters over the lack of concessions for OAPs, Students and Children. The scheme also will see hundreds of fans sitting in the Upper West Stand forced out of their seats.
Alterations to the scheme are announced on the Club website:
- Families: The Family Stand Guarantee will ensure that no family will have to pay more than last year.
- West Upper: Supporters will be able to remain in a partly open West Upper should the club be promoted to the Premier League.
- South Stand: No supporter will have to move if they don’t wish to.
- Concessions: Approximately 800 further seats have been added to the cheapest-price Zone 1, with current concessions having priority.
- 500 Club: Members of the 500 Club are to be offered a price freeze.
The HCST organise a red card protest before the Brentford home match to enable fans to show their disapproval. The majority of the crowd appear to be against the scheme.
Ehab Allam defends the scheme via an open letter in the match day programme, he explains the schemes objectives:
- To make football more affordable – “our hope is that lapsed season ticket holders who moved away from from us due to not being able to afford to attend will re-join”.
- Eradicating the costly renewal process (for the club)
- Rewarding supporters for their loyalty with membership benefits
- Addressing the level of fraudulent ticketing at the stadium “which is currently 14%”
Officials from the Premier League meet with the Club to discuss compatibility of club’s pricing structure & lack of concessions with league rules:
No joining fee is charged for renewals, however fans signing up during general sale are charged an initial “one-off joining fee” of £24.
Despite poor sales the joining fee is increased to £84 after Thursday 23rd June 2016.
The membership scheme is revised for the 2017/2018 season back in the Championship but still no sign of concessions.
Mis-selling of memberships
The Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) investigate a complaint from a Hull City Supporter about the mis-selling of memberships in particular the rewards & benefits that were advertised but not forthcoming. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) advise the club “We consider the ad is misleading because it fails to make clear how all these benefits can be retrieved.”
The club refuse to cooperate with the IFO investigation: “The IFO criticises the Club most severely for the stance adopted and is taking up the matter with the Football Authorities“.
Premier League Ruling on Concessions
“During season 2016/17 the Premier League expressed concerns about Hull City’s ticketing policy and, following discussions with club officials, and a number of complaints from fans, charged the club with a breach of its rules. A three-person independent commission was convened to consider the charge.
“The Commission, comprised of John Machell QC (Chair), Daniel Alexander QC and Steve Stride, found the club breached Premier League rule R.8 by not offering concessionary tickets to senior citizens or junior supporters.
“Following the Commission’s decision Hull City has agreed, should the club be promoted to the Premier League in the future, that it will comply with Premier League rules regarding concessions.
“If the club is promoted between 2018 and 2022 it has committed to specifically offering at least 10 per cent of its home match tickets to senior citizens and juniors at a discount of no less than 10 per cent to standard ticket prices.”
Concessionary Pricing Vote
Ehab introduces a fans vote on a new proposed ticket model for the 2018/19 season which includes concessions (with restrictions). Any fan who has bought a season card since 2015/16 is eligible to vote.
Only 18% of the 16,500 eligible fans vote in the poll. The club do not announce the result.
“Due to a low vote count we’ve decided to present an alternative model for eligible supporters to vote on.
“We think you will agree that, to consider a vote a ‘majority vote’, it needs to be more than a fifth of people voting overall.”
Alternative Ticket Model
A different ticketing scheme is now proposed based on the 2016/17 season ticket prices, which was the last season concessions were offered.
“To combat ticket fraud, which has always been our primary concern and the reason why we proposed Zonal pricing in the first place, here’s how we propose we would re-implement this structure:
- Every individual membership would require photo ID in order to receive the membership card (memberships are non-transferable). You can only have one membership assigned to each supporter.
- For match by match tickets, we are presenting two revised options for how you can purchase match by match tickets:
- We will be introducing a ‘Pay As You Go’ style Membership card (PAYG) where you will need to collect your card with photo ID, as per the membership cards (one card assigned per supporter, non-transferable). Also, a one-off £15 admin charge will be applied. You will then be able to load match tickets onto this card.
- Alternatively, for those who would prefer not to register for a Pay as You Go style membership card, you will only be able to buy fixed price match by match tickets and these will be at an elevated price (with no concession option). See pricing structure.”May 2018
The 2nd vote once again has a low turnout after the Hull City Supporters Trust calls for a ‘boycott of the vote’. The club do not announce the result.
“Subsequently, as it currently stands, the second model will also not be implemented for next season. Instead, as mentioned above, we are now open to discussions with the FSF to understand their football supporter base findings.
We felt it imperative to consult fans throughout the process so as to represent all supporters, not just those who are the loud minority, so our decisions can be based on fact and wider opinion.
With no concessions forthcoming membership numbers fall to around 8,500 for the start of the 2018/19 season
Last Updated 11/08/2018