Villa Away Ticket Consultation Group Reform
The reintroduction of the Away Ticket Consultation Group has largely flown under the radar of Aston Villa supporters since the first meeting in November last year. Most of the Villa Fan Advisory Board didn’t even know it had been reformed and was up and running.
The club had selected supporters of various away booking histories to reflect the various situations Villa away fans face.
While MOMS hasn’t been involved this time round, it had been involved in the original Away Ticket Consultation Group back in the Championship days, helping with the creation of the away scheme and the designation of the club’s discount pool, that was used to reduce the ticket prices of several away games for Villa fans. Other away issues, such as allocations, travel concerns and stewarding and policing issues, were also addressed in the meetings.
As for the current group meetings, for your information, below is the club notes from the last meeting of the new group that took place last month. These notes provide interesting insights into the club’s approach towards away ticket loyalty and allocation, as well as mention of some of the changes supporters can expect next season.
Away Ticket Consultation Group Meeting 18/05/23
Lynne O’Reardon Head of Ticketing
Dan Walker Ticketing Manager
Lee Preece Supporter Liaison Manager
James Prescott Ticketing Supervisor
Introduction by Lee Preece (Supporter Liaison Manager) thanking members for their attendance, reiterating the purpose of the group:
To continually evaluate & establish fair process for the distribution of away tickets.
To identify & support processes that help ensure booking history is genuine and to identify appropriate sanctions against those who pass tickets to others.
To facilitate greater attendance opportunities for supporters, there was support for increase from the current 50 tickets to 100 away tickets held for ballot entry. It has been proposed that the ticketing software be employed to manage this process, instead of supporters using their pride reward points.
It should also be considered that a limit of one successful entry per supporter per season in addition to an extended lead time between notifying success in the ballot and deadline to purchase.
The group agreed an allocation of 10% of the front row allocated at away games would be reserved for ambulant supporters and the seats designated would be advised on the sales information advertised.
Sales Period & Criteria
The sales window will adjust every 48 hours to expedite the sale of tickets, hastening the process of supporters receiving their tickets by post. The current window of four days per sales window was considered too long. There has also been a discussion regarding the increased implementation of digital tickets for away games.
Aston Villa Sale – Click Below for Details
AVFC Ticket Checks
There has been a conversation at PL about clubs sharing the away ticket usage (tickets registered at the stadium as being read for entry). This data will be monitored by the club to ensure that the tickets that are purchased are being used as intended, and not merely to bolster booking records. If purchased tickets are not used, the account holder’s account may be subject to sanctions.
The current penalties for ticket abuse were discussed, and the idea of away match bans (3 matches or 6 matches etc) were felt to be inconsistent. It was therefore agreed that from 2023/2024, any supporter being discovered advertising or selling away tickets will have all booking and loyalty history removed from their Fan ID number. This also applies to those passing tickets on to other supporters to maintain booking history.
The club will reiterate at the point of purchase that tickets can only be purchased and used by the Fan ID provided at the time of purchase.
Booking History being named to ‘Loyalty’
The title “booking history” will transition to “loyalty.” The away priority should always be focused on rewarding those who travel and support the team.
One area of discussion was the continuation of Bournemouth in the Premier League and the possibility of Luton winning the play-off (which happened). The question was raised if such low allocations should count towards the cumulative total of someone’s loyalty (giving those already in front a further advantage).
Whilst we will start season 2023/2024 using 2022/2023 criteria, we will also look to introduce a points system, grading matches on the availability / allocation received. We will need to monitor this at the start of next season and see if it can be implemented midway through the 2023-2024 season.
The club will discuss with the group what matches may be graded once we have the fixtures for next season.
Cup Games/ Wembley
At present, cup matches do not count towards loyalty for League matches. It was agreed by the group that this would change for season 2023/2024, so cup games will be added to the league match away criteria.
In the event of our qualifying for a visit to Wembley, we discussed and agreed that priority will be given to season ticket holders, with added priority given to those who have attended both home and away games in cup competitions. If we get to an FA Cup Final, our allocation would not be sufficient for all season ticket holders to get a ticket, so we would also have to extend priority to those holding a season ticket consecutively prior to the 2019/2020 season.
In the Event of Europe
The group recognised that most fans would not be able to afford to travel in Europe to follow the Villa. The group agreed that it would be unfair to count European travel towards domestic loyalty.
In the first instance, the club will use domestic loyalty to prioritise the issue of European tickets. Where possible, and if we progress, season ticket holders attending both home and away European fixtures will be considered in the event of later rounds in any tournament.
Any Other Business
Our next meeting is scheduled to take place at the end of June 2023.