Date: 10th November 2016 at 8:45am
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The Premier League have today confirmed that from next season, each top flight club have agreed to house at least one block of away fans next to the pitch.

The new rule and agreement comes out alongside the Premier League publishing of a detailed report into ticketing prices and allocation involving all 20 top flight clubs – and it wouldn’t be unfair to say one huge element of the report was to ‘bust some myths’ (their words) about the cost of ticket prices in the division given the last few years of fan anger when it came to the rising cost of football.

To deal with the report first, the Premier League obviously wanted to ‘bust some myths’ that ironically weren’t myths in reality with the document and they point out that this season for fans on average, more than 50% of the tickets brought will cost £30 or less.

Which is nice, until equally it means that slightly under 50% of tickets therefore must cost £30 or more.

For the first time all 20 top flight clubs were asked to provide full details on stadium allocations, prices, sales, and the availability and take up of discounted offers – and they did and whilst individual clubs aren’t picked out (which many would’ve found useful) the results have been verified by Earnst & Young and they are on board with the fact that 56% of attending fans this season will pay £30 or less – and that obviously should be applauded but it doesn’t mean it should be the final step.

Further – an average price of £31 was discovered, and the breakdown is.

25% cost £20 or less
49% cost £20-£40
22% £40-£60
4% £60 or more

Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore explained to Sky Sports.

‘We wanted to get the truth out there in terms of what it’s actually costing people to go. It’s all very easy to get caught up in the emotion of the highest ticket prices, but there’s no other industry where you’d just pick the highest match day prices and claim those are the prices that everybody is paying. It’s a much more complex issue. We wanted to do a proper study of what people are paying and get the real numbers out.’

Having covered a few articles like this in the past, and obviously referenced media outlets and campaigners – had anybody actually just picked the highest price and pretended it was the lowest he might have a point.

But considering they haven’t – let’s move on.

An interesting one I’d like broke down is the claim season ticket holders represent 71% of all fans inside Premier League Stadiums.

I don’t know why, but that just doesn’t sound accurate where at least to my knowledge (and hey it wouldn’t be the first time I’m wrong), few clubs offer more than 50% of seats for season tickets, but there are of course clubs who fare far better on that front.

There is a breakdown for ‘types’ of seats across the league in a stadium though and the report claims four million tickets overall this year will be sold at discounted prices.

76% standard seats
8% away fans
8% family seats
8% hospitality

With the £30 three year cap introduced for away fans this season, Scudamore did also rule out categorically a cap on the most expensive seats for fans.

‘I don’t think that’s right. It’s a very, very small percentage, 4%. We wouldn’t get involved in capping home prices. It’s complicated and to get involved in that level of complexity, with 20 clubs, we wouldn’t do.’

So to the pitch side new rule, clubs have agreed from next season that at least one block of away fans will now be situated pitch side in future as well – for every league encounter.

‘Basically you won’t be able to be stuck up in the third tier, out in the corner, if you’re an away fan. It’s about atmosphere. One of the unique things about our game, particularly in England, is the amount of away fans and the noise they create. When an away goal is scored, you want that atmosphere and interaction between the two sets of fans.’

Scudamore also dismissed suggestions this would complicate matters around derby clashes.

‘Not really. All those issues are managed very well now.’

To clarify, the size of the pitch side block and locations in lower tiers will still be dependent on each ground.

‘Pitch-side is the easiest way of describing it but clearly some ground configurations mean there might be some gap between where the seats actually are, and there might be something else in between that and the pitch.’

Having now been agreed by the 20 member clubs in the top flight, the three sides promoted from the Championship next season do not have a say and cannot prevent the rule change coming into effect.