United chairman calling for action...
Massimo Cellino has called upon the Football League to re-think their strategy with regard to televised games after growing increasingly frustrated by the number of the club’s rescheduled home fixtures.
By the time we enter the New Year, United will have had four televised home fixtures and six away, taking the total to a joint league high of 10 following the recent changes made to December’s games.
The United chairman has now moved to express his disappointment at how he feels the club’s stature is being unfairly “exploited”, as well as outlining the steps he will take in a bid to make the League review the process.
He said: “Our loyal Season Ticket Holders are being unfairly penalised by the large amount of fixture changes.
“They have already paid to attend these games but many are no longer able to and attendances are suffering as a result of this.
“This affects our revenue to a level where the club is losing money with each televised home game, as Sky’s compensation payments are not enough to cover the losses in ticketing, retail and catering.
“We cannot just accept for our schedule to be changed with games moved to Thursdays and Sundays. We are a football club and tradition gives us a sense of belonging to our community.
“Our players need the passion and support of their fans at Elland Road – we should have the right to play there in front of our fans at the traditional time.
“We understand the value that Leeds United brings to the Football League, but we should be shown respect for that - we shouldn’t be exploited because of it.
“We do not want to challenge the Football League or Sky, we simply want them to listen to us.
“We have used the correct channels in appealing to the Football League but the issues remain, so we have no choice but to take strong action to protect the future of Leeds United.
“In doing this we must be civil, show respect and remain within the rules. We must not be violent in our way of protesting.
“Football League rules state that clubs must make a provision for at least 2,000 away tickets to be sold. Therefore, in line with those requirements, we will be selling no more than 2,000 tickets for each away game from now on.
“We understand that this means a number of fans will now be unable to attend certain away games, but this is the sacrifice needed to make the Football League take notice - we have to vote with our feet.
“We are encouraging you, as supporters, to think before purchasing tickets for away matches – our silence, especially away from home, will demonstrate our disappointment.
“At away games our supporters are being taken advantage of because they travel in such large numbers.
“This unfairly benefits the home clubs, who increase the price of tickets, food and drinks for our fans.
“But again, the Football League are doing nothing to help us when they should be looking after their members – that is their responsibility to us.
“As a club we can no longer continue to be exploited like this and we are calling for change.
“If these issues cannot be addressed then I fear for the future of Leeds United, which is why I am taking this stance and calling for the fans to follow. The future of our club is at stake.”
Massimo Cellino, on behalf of everybody at Leeds United Football Club