Despite holding talks with UEFA, United and United fans’ groups, Athletic Club have not only refused to cut the price, but have also refused to reveal significant information about what some of their fans will actually be paying.
To find out about the issue and find out how to sign the petition, read our Q and A below.
Q. What is this all about?
United will play Athletic Club Bilbao in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg on Thursday March 15.
Q. How much are they being charged for tickets?
£77.50 or, to put it another way, 86p per minute – and there is no concessionary price.
Tribuna Sur Baja, behind the goal in the lower tier
Q. And what are Athletic Club fans in the same end paying?
According to Athletic Club, the entire Tribuna Sur Baja end will be used only by United fans, but they say their fans sitting in most other areas of the stadium are also paying £77.50.
Q. So what’s the problem?
Athletic Club fans who became members at the start of the season enjoy a massive discount.
Some sources claim they only pay a maximum of e30 (£25.34) for match tickets, but Athletic Club have refused to tell us exactly how much of a discount members get.
Q. What’s the stadium capacity?
Q. How many tickets have United got?
Q. How many members have Athletic Club got?
Q. So assuming all of those buy tickets for this game, does that mean up to 8,000 Athletico Club fans will also pay top whack?
Yes, but remember that Athletic Club members view those fans as part timers who are paying a premium because they are only going to a big game.
Q. But United fans aren’t. Isn’t it the case that, in order to go to this game, you must be at least One United member?
Yes. And that’s what makes the situation so unfair. Bilbao are penalising United fans for not being Athletic Club members.
Q. What have United said?
That they raised the issue with Athletic Club, but made little progress, and were hoping further talks would lead to progress, without expecting much to come from it.
Q. What have Athletic Club said?
A club spokesman said: “We are really sorry you consider this price is too high but these are the seats were the visiting supporters are seated every UEFA Europe League match at San Mames Stadium, and at the very same price.
“This is were our police tells us they have to be located for security reasons.
“Athletic Club fans seated in similar tribunes will have to pay the same price, except members who have a discount.
“Athletic Club is a private club and this is why our members have a discount.
“We are not a Limited Company and members do not have to pay for league and cup matches but they have to pay something, though less than general public, for international matches.
“These prices are exactly the same as our club matches set for the group stage games against Paris Saint Germain, Salzburg and Slovan Bratislava and in the round of 16 phase against FC Lokomotiv.
“ Also, the Athletic Club would like to emphasize that this is the same price to be paid by our team fans wishing to attend the party in the rest of San Mamés stands, except the Principal, whose entries will cost more.
Q. Given Athletic Club’s unreasonable stance, what can we do?
You can sign this petition, which Reds Away will present to them to indicate just how strongly we feel about this exploitation of our fans.
You can also write to UEFA urging them to introduce a sensible limit on member discount.
We know Manchester United offer a £5 discount to One United members for some games at Old Trafford.
While some may regard that as unfair, it is clearly not in the same bracket as a mark up of up to £52.16 as in the case of Athletic Club.
Reds Away will publish a sample letter later today for you to email to UEFA should you wish.