Sunday 16th August 2020

AST raises issues on how supporters will return to the Emirates with Arsenal

The AST has been in dialogue with executives at Arsenal regarding how the return of spectators to the Emirates will be managed.

Discussions now centre on the return of supporters as spectators which the Government has indicated could be approved for 1 October. Trial events are now taking place and it is expected that test event football matches with fans attending will take place in early September.

You can also watch a recording of our last AST Board meeting where we considered this in the first fifteen minutes of the discussions. This article in the Athletic is also a good summary of the current position.

The current guidance from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) on the procedures that will need to be followed is set out here.

We have discussed this as an AST Board and reflected on feedback that members have sent us. This has led us to set out five key issues that have put to Arsenal. You can read these below.

It is encouraging Arsenal have engaged with each issue. It is likely that not all of these requests can be delivered exactly as set and in the way we would like due to issues such as safety requirements and the capability of Arsenal's ticketing software but there is a positive approach to doing as much as is possible.

We will keep members updated on developments.

The five principles we raised with Arsenal are set out below:

1. Season Ticket holders to have the option to not attend games for the 2020/21 season – they may be shielding or not like the prospect of attending games with all the COVID requirements being put in place. Those in this position should have the right to defer their season tickets to the following season without any penalty.

2. That the Ticket Exchange is optimised so that those who do have tickets for games can then put them back into the ticketing system right up to as close as possible to the kick off itself and that these tickets are then sold on to other members. This is particularly important when people might have health issues including COVID symptoms that mean they shouldn’t attend at the last minute, or are subject to local lockdowns where they live. Following on from this is the importance of those fortunate enough to have tickets to actually use them. Ticket holders who don’t attend and don’t put the tickets back into the Ticket Exchange should have their ticket rights removed given how precious each and every ticket is likely to be.

3. Correct names to be on tickets and checked on entry – this is important both to facilitate track and trace arrangements and also to prevent touting. We would suggest Arsenal consider offering an amnesty of season ticket and membership registration details so that the correct details are updated and maintained.

4. For the club to make arrangements for fans who can’t attend games to have access to a tv ticket pass/streaming for that game. With capacity greatly reduced and a return to the broadcast arrangements that see only half the games broadcast live it will be important to make tv access as easy as possible for fans not at the Emirates stadium

5. For there to be an allocation of tickets set aside for silver and red members to have access to across the season. While we understand that season ticket holders will have first priority we believe it is important to deliver value to the silver and red membership and also to give as many people as possible the chance to see some games, we therefore hope that arrangements will be made so that silver and red members have access to tickets for some games.

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