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Two out of five fans want players to take wage cuts

  • And nearly half would like to see wage caps in football, Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index shows
  • Cost of average match day rises to £101.67

Two out of five football fans want to see players take a wage cut and nearly half would like to see the introduction of wage caps, according to Virgin Money’s authoritative Football Fans’ Index*.

Just 13% of fans believe players should be free to earn as much as they can in the wake of estimates putting the average Premiership salary at £23,000** a week or £1.2 million a year.

However not all fans at all clubs take as hard a line on player salaries – 34% of Man City fans believe players should be free to earn as much as they can while 25% of Chelsea fans take the same view. Man Utd and Arsenal supporters are also a bit more lenient than the average fan. Just 5% of fans at Blackpool and Stoke think players should be allowed to cash in.

Supporters themselves are feeling the strain – Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index shows the average match day cost for fans is now £101.67 after a 4.2% rise in the past three months. The match day cost is now back to the same level it was in 2009.

The research with the Football Supporters’ Federation shows just 10% of Championship club supporters back footballers earning as much as they can, while 12% of supporters in Leagues 1 and 2 take the same view.

Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “Players have been the big winners in the football boom and if anyone deserves to cash in then it is them as they are one of the main reasons people go to games.

“But when fans are being squeezed financially it is inevitable they want to see players sharing the pain with two out of five now wanting to see pay cuts forced on players and others wanting to see pay caps. Most players now earn more in a year than most fans can expect to earn in their lifetime and that is sticking in the throat of supporters.”

Malcolm Clarke, Chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, commented: “Football at the top level is awash with money. Whilst supporters recognise that star players will expect to get a reward which reflects their talent, they feel that match-going supporters should also benefit from football’s riches through reduced ticket prices. If this doesn’t happen, particularly at a time when many fans are facing wage freezes and even redundancy, there will be a widening gulf between the fans and the players at the top level, which is not healthy for the game.”

Man City34%
Man Utd16%
West Brom16%
Blackburn Rovers12%
Aston Villa11%
West Ham10%
Newcastle United10%
Birmingham City7%
Tottenham Hotspur6%

The Virgin Money Football Fans’ Inflation Index, which measures the match day costs, shows the average price of going to a live game is now a hefty £101.67 compared with £97.50 in August but still below the high of October 2008 when it hit £106.21. The match day costs* include a pint of lager, a match ticket, a replica shirt, and a match programme as well as some travel expenses.

The Index shows football clubs have cut costs - average ticket prices across all divisions are now £24.32 while replica shirt costs dropped to £32.54 from £34.24 in August. However other parts of the basket of goods - beyond clubs’ control - including rail ticket prices, petrol and beer have climbed in cost.

Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Index has tracked the cost of football since January 2006 and is aimed at helping supporters keep track of the rises and falls in the costs of supporting their team. The company identified the match day essentials fans buy and keeps tabs on increases and decreases.

At the launch of the Index in January 2006, the match day basket of goods*** cost £77.95. However the most recent analysis puts the cost at £101.67 – a rise of £23.72 or 30% per match day. Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Index runs every three months and the firm’s research team examines the cost of items such as a gallon of petrol, match tickets, food, alcohol, train tickets and replica shirts.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

* The Football Supporters Federation interviewed a representative sample of 4,150 football fans between 30 November and 15 December 2010.

** Deloitte Money League May 2010.

** The basket of goods includes a gallon of petrol, a pint of lager, a bacon roll, a train fare, a match ticket, a replica shirt, pay-per-view cost and a match programme.

For further information

Kevan Reilly/Chris Jarvis, Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Tel: 0207 638 9571

Football Supporters' Federation
Malcolm Clarke 07939 594379
Steven Powell 07881 950613

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About The Football Fans’ Census:

The Football Fans Census is the leading football research expert providing a communication channel between the supporter and the football industry.

About the Football Supporters’ Federation

The FSF represents over 180,000 members supporting clubs and national teams at all levels throughout England & Wales.