Manchester United fans threaten legal action over ticket cut at Chelsea | Manchester United

Manchester United Supporters Trust has threatened legal action against Hammersmith and Fulham council after the cut to the ticket allocation for the club’s visit to Chelsea on 22 October.

Lawyers for MUST have demanded a new safety certificate for 3,000 travelling fans be issued and have warned they may otherwise start judicial review proceedings, with an emergency hearing sought in the high court.

United fans were originally given 2,994 tickets for the Premier League fixture, all of which sold out, before the Metropolitan police reduced this to 1,500 because of what the club described as “policing concerns”. The Met says high-risk weekend fixtures must start before 4.45pm and the game was moved from 4.30pm on Sunday to 5.30pm on Saturday.

Negotiations between the club and the force increased the allocation to 2,330, which still left 694 fans without a ticket. MUST has accused the council of “uncritically accepting the advice” of the police.

United believe the cut is “unjustified”, and an MUST spokesperson said: “For a Supporters Trust to engage lawyers is always a last resort, but enough is enough. United fans, and football supporters in general, have had their fill of being on the receiving end of unfair and irrational decisions by councils and the police who seem to consider us to be a public order problem rather than ordinary people freely enjoying a day out. Tickets had been sold for this game and fans are being treated like second class citizens.”

A letter from MUST’s lawyers asks Hammersmith and Fulham council for a response by midday on Friday 14 October. If there is no reply, or there is confirmation there will be no reversal of the decision, MUST may ask for a judicial review.

The letter states: “In brief, the decision is challenged on the basis that there is no rational reason to reduce the ticket allocation for away fans at a 5.30pm kick-off when it is accepted that there would be a full ticket allocation at a fixture beginning no later than 4.45pm. In the alternative, the Defendant has fettered their discretion to issue a safety certificate with the full ticket allocation by uncritically accepting the advice of the Metropolitan Police Service.”

A Hammersmith and Fulham council spokesperson said: “The decision to restrict ticket allocation for away fans was on the advice of the Metropolitan police and its concern about risks associated with the late kick-off. We wrote to Chelsea FC in the summer expressing our concern about the timing of this match. It is disappointing that the football authorities have not been able to change the kick-off time to enable the full ticket allocation for away fans making the journey.”

A Met spokesperson has said: “The clubs were unable to agree to an earlier kick-off due to concerns about TV commitments, so an alternative solution had to be found. At a meeting of the Safety Advisory Group, a compromise was reached that involved the clubs agreeing to reduce the away ticket allocation to 2,370 which, in turn, changed the risk rating of the fixture from high to medium. While we accept that this may disappoint and inconvenience some fans, it was not the only option available to the clubs and was not a decision taken directly by the police.”

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