The Football Association have confirmed a steep increase in ticket prices for the FA Cup semi-finals and final to be held at Wembley.
For the first time since 2015, the FA have raised prices for final stages of the competition with fans charged up to £20 more for semi-final tickets and £30 more for final tickets.
While the cheapest ticket for the semi-finals, which will be contested between Manchester United and Tottenham on April 21, and Chelsea and Southampton on April 22, remains at £30, the most expensive ticket will now be £80.
That is in comparison to the £60 fans had to pay for a Category A ticket last season. Category B tickets are this year priced at £65, up from £50, while a Category C seat will cost £45 instead of £40.
The most expensive ticket for the final will now cost £145, instead of £115, while a Category B seat is priced at £115, up from £85, and a category C ticket is £80 instead of £65. The cheapest ticket has been frozen at £45.
In an article on the FA’s website, Andy Ambler, director of professional game relations, attempted to explain the pricing policy for this season’s semi-finals and final.
“The cheapest tickets for these matches will remain the same as in 2016 and 2017, £30 for the semi-finals and £45 for the final,” said Ambler. “This season we made the decision to increase the price of some tickets in the stadium. This is the first time that we have raised the price of tickets for Emirates FA Cup semi-final and final ties in three years.
“The Emirates FA Cup semi-final and final are some of the most prestigious events in the sporting calendar and these new prices are in line with many of these events.
“It’s always important to remember that The FA is a not-for-profit organisation where every pound and penny of profit is reinvested back into every level of football in England. If you’re buying a ticket for the semi-final or the final you are directly investing in the future of the game in this country.”
Ambler’s explanation is unlikely to prevent the FA coming under fire from fans of United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Southampton.
United supporters also face having to travel home following a 5.15pm Saturday kick-off, while Southampton supporters could also experience problems to their journey.
“We understand the challenges of a 5.15pm Saturday kick-off for some fans,” said Ambler. “It currently means that it could be difficult to get the last train back from London to Manchester, should the game go to extra-time and/or penalties.
“We have people employed at The FA specifically to liaise with the transport companies and they are working with the travel providers and the club to see if we can help find further solutions for those travelling to Manchester after the match. We also have coach-parking facilities at Wembley Stadium to accommodate those traveling fans.”
He added: “We are aware of some road closures in the Southampton area over the semi-final weekend and encourage traveling fans to take this into consideration when planning their journey to Wembley Stadium. We will also work with Southampton to provide travel advice to fans.”
Ambler also dismissed the complaints of some United fans that Tottenham will enjoy home advantage at Wembley by saying: “It is important to remember that Wembley Stadium is not the permanent home of Tottenham Hotspur, it is just their temporary home for the 2017-18 season.
“In accordance with the FA Cup Competition Rules, it’s up to The FA to determine which stadium will be used for the both semi-finals and the final. Before a ball was kicked in this year’s Emirates FA Cup it was decided that Wembley Stadium would host the semi-finals and, obviously, the final.
“I do, however, want to be clear that Tottenham will have no ‘home team’ privileges at Wembley Stadium for the semi-final or final, should they progress. Tottenham have been allocated a different dressing room to the one they use for their previous ‘home’ games this season.
“The stadium ends are determined by the travel requirements of fans and locality to Wembley train stations, so Manchester United fans will be in the west end of the stadium.”