Whitecaps did the right thing on away ticketsMarch 25, 2011 at 5:32 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps In MLS, Whitecaps Season 2011 | 5 Comments
While I have not agreed with Paul Barber on everything, he and the Whitecaps have done the right thing with away tickets.
The whole controversy on away tickets for Seattle and Portland matches came about when the Whitecaps decided to contract out the 500 away match ticket allocation to Uniglobe. Apparently the Southsiders got the impression they would have to buy Uniglobe’s whole package including buses and accommodation. They were wrong. Uniglobe will sell match tickets alone to those who want them.
For the second time in recent memory the Southsiders intrepid President Knox went on a rampage in the media about how the Whitecaps have betrayed him. The first time he felt the club had sold his group out when the tickets behind the goal were not the cheapest seats in the house, as the Southsiders had expected. Now the Whitecaps have blindsided him and his group about away tickets.
Mr Knox has now backed off of his allegations with a conciliatory statement, but given this is the second time President Knox has gone to the media screaming about how the whitecaps have been less than honest to him, one could not blame the Whitecaps for becoming completely fed up with him. I am sure there are a lot of eyes now rolling in the Whitecaps office when his name is brought up. People of integrity like Barber and Lenarduzzi will not take kindly to the insinuation they are liars. If the Southsiders are trying to build relationships with the Whitecaps that is not the way to do it.
This whole episode proves the Whitecaps are right to make their own policy decisions rather than being influenced by the likes of Mr Knox. While the President says he and his group are not making any special claim to the away tickets, I think it is fair to say his ultimate hope was to have the tickets given to his group to allocate, as Portland and Seattle have done (foolishly, in my view).
I, for one, am glad the Whitecaps have decided not to simply turn over the tickets to a supporters group as Seattle and Portland have done. For one thing, there are a lot more season ticket holders (close to 16,000) than there are Southsiders by a huge margin. Why should a small group of season ticket holders get to have priority over away tickets over the vastly larger group of other season ticket holders who do not belong to the Southsiders and who have paid more for their seats to boot?
The Whitecaps have a duty to be fair to all season ticket holders in the allocation of away tickets. The arrangement with Uniglobe accomplishes that goal.
In any event, the Whitecaps are wise not to let any supporters group become too powerful. I would not want to have to appeal to President Knox and his group, or any other group for that matter, if I want to see an away match. Such an arrangement would be subject to abuse and favouritism.
Too many football clubs in the world have become beholden to overly powerful supporters groups who coerce and threaten the club to do things against its better interests.
Good for Paul Barber for standing up and doing the right thing for all Whitecaps season ticket holders.