Leicester City have been accused of “stealth taxing” supporters by introducing a raft of new fees on ticketing, car parking and other services ahead of the 2019-20 season.
The Foxes Trust and Union FS, the atmosphere group at the King Power, have issued a joint statement criticising the club for increasing the cost of purchasing tickets via the club’s online store.
Tickets bought over the phone or online will now have a £1 fee applied to each individual ticket (£1.50 during general sale for non-members) where previously there was a single fee for a group booking.
Supporters say this means a family of four travelling on via the club travel would now be paying a minimum of £8 in fees for their tickets rather than £1 previously.
Alan Digby from the Foxes Trust said: “The increased fees, the way they have been structured, and the timing of their introduction are extremely disappointing.
“The fact that the club chose not to consult, again, on such an emotive issue is also very concerning.”
Additional fees on top of ticket prices have been a hot topic ahead of the new season after Norwich City effectively introduced a £50 paywall for access to their away tickets.
Supporters of the Canaries reacted angrily to the change that was introduced with little consultation last month – the club has accepted some criticism but has kept the scheme in place. Aston Villa, on the other hand, ditched a similar scheme after consultation with their supporters.
Like their counterparts in Norfolk, Leicester City fans argue that such additional charges undermine the £30 cap on away ticket prices in the Premier League. Union FS, while praising the freeze on season ticket prices at the King Power, said the club should reconsider the additional charges.
“In an era where finances in football clubs are at an all-time high Union FS do not see the logic nor the fairness in implementing yet another charge on the match going fan,” they said.
“The football club are quick to play the rhetoric of how important our overall support is but once again all we see is a lack of consultation or responsibility for their actions.”
The FSA keeps a close eye on anything that increases matchday costs such as membership fees or transaction fees – and will be raising the issue of camouflaged costs directly with the Premier League.
"Ticket prices are of fundamental importance to fans - some matchday costs are optional but if you can't afford a ticket, you can't watch your team,” an FSA spokesperson said.
"This will be on the agenda in our formal discussions with the leagues and Foxes Trust will play a central role in those discussions."
Thanks to PA Images for the image used in this article.