DUP to raise fans’ price hike concerns

DUP North Belfast MLA William Humphrey. Photograph by Declan Roughan/ Press Eye

DUP North Belfast MLA William Humphrey. Photograph by Declan Roughan/ Press Eye

A delegation of four football-supporting DUP MLAs hope to meet with the IFA over a hike in the cost of tickets for this year’s Irish Cup final.

The showpiece game at Windsor Park between Coleraine and Linfield on May 6 – which will bring the curtain down on the 2016/2017 season – will cost supporters £5 more than last year at £20.

DUP MLA William Humphrey told the News Letter that while £20 might not seem like a great deal of money, the majority of football fans were from a working class background.

There are cheaper concession tickets but the vast majority of fans will pay the full rate.

Mr Humphrey said: “This isn’t just because I’m a Linfield fan that I’m raising the issue. I have been contacted by a number of my constituents who have raised this with me.

“The vast majority of people going to watch Irish league matches are working class people and the point is that, even though it is the showpiece, it is twice the price of going to see the same players on any given Saturday.

“We hope to meet the IFA chief executive and president next week. Myself, David Hilditch, Maurice Bradley and George Robinson – George and Maurice obviously will be representing Coleraine – will be going up to that meeting.”

The decision to raise the ticket prices sparked a negative reaction amongst Irish league football fans earlier this week, with many taking to social media to vent their anger. One fan suggested the IFA had “put their foot in it” over the ticket prices.

A spokesman for the IFA said: “The ticket prices for the Tennent’s Irish Cup final are set by the Challenge Cup Committee of the Irish FA which is made up of representatives of clubs. After running costs, 80% of the gate receipts will be split evenly between the two competing finalists.”