Removal of Compulsory Automatic Cup Scheme - At Last!

A big win on one of our longest standing campaigns 

  • The Compulsory Automatic Cup Scheme is no more

  • Season ticket holders will now have full choice to buy a Season Ticket by competition including each cup competition

  • And a new option for supporters to obtain a Cup Season Ticket if they wish to

  • New buy back scheme offers the opportunity to sell tickets back to the club but only when there is demand

  • Another big MUST win on top of the ability to transfer tickets to other members

After years of lobbying by MUST, the Club has today announced that the compulsory nature of the automatic cup scheme (ACS) has been removed and no supporter will be forced to purchase cup matches any longer. We also welcome the roll out of a buy back scheme whereby season ticket holders who cannot attend a game will be able to directly receive payment back from the club. 

This outcome is a result of years of direct engagement with the Club, and more recently via our presence on the Fans' Forum and crucially as part of the Fan Advisory Board, which prioritised this issue at its first meeting in January. 

The ACS was introduced initially as a convenient option for supporters who wanted to purchase every cup match, to save administration hassle. The Club making this compulsory in the summer of 2007 caused widespread resentment and became a symbol of unpopular and punitive steps taken by the Glazers as it was perceived that it was forcing some fans to buy tickets for games they did not wish to attend.

The removal of the compulsory nature of the ACS has been a long standing ask for MUST and, while the Club never took the issue off the table, it has clearly been slow moving. The last six months has seen more detailed discussions on what removing it would actually look like, resulting in today’s announcement. 

Another big win for fans is that the Club has also introduced a buy back scheme for season ticket holders, as it’s often been questioned why we are one of the only clubs to not have a ticket exchange. This new option is potentially much better than a ticket exchange as the club will reimburse supporters directly and instantly rather than an exchange being dependent on another supporter wanting the ticket being found first. This again is a long standing MUST ask.  

Over 20,000 supporters currently opt out of purchasing League Cup tickets and it is envisaged a sizeable number from this pool will also opt out of the FA Cup. This move therefore directly saves money for thousands of supporters each season and makes tickets available to fans who want to attend and helps to ensure tickets are not wasted. The buy back scheme being added to that will help reduce unsold seats and season ticket holders losing money if they cannot find a friend to use their ticket. 

In a season where we would be in the Champions League, we would play an average of four home games at an average price of £40, so this opt out saves supporters who wish to use it, a compulsory payment of £160 plus any home FA Cup games too. That season ticket holder also has more flexibility if they cannot attend a league match (forward it, donate to Foundation, new buy back option from Club). 

MUST continues to press the Club on other match going issues, from the introduction of rail seating to challenging reduced allocations to the reform of sanctions, as well as supporting our fans at European away games (from trains, buses, help with visas and, in some cases, subsidies on tickets). 

There’s still a huge amount more we want from the Club. But for today, this is a big win for match-going fans removing the running sore of the compulsory ACS. 

You'll appreciate we are working on many other issues of course - not least our core objective of fan share ownership - we'll send updates on the Fan Share Scheme and other issues as soon as we have news on those.

Many thanks for your support.

MUST is your organisation - owned by all of us, the members.


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