Sponsors Stay Silent

Spirit of Shankly, earlier this week, wrote to every Champions League sponsor asking that they consider giving a proportion of their tickets for the final in Madrid to some of the thousands of LFC and Tottenham Hotspur fans who, through pitiful allocations from UEFA, are without.

We believe this a reasonable request. The success and value of their sponsorships is built on the loyal club supporters who make the game the spectacle it is. Their agreement would be seen as a way of giving something back.

Unfortunately, we have had little response. Of the eight sponsors we contacted only MasterCard have replied, saying they “understand the passion [the champions League] evokes in fans”. Yet tickets don’t find their way to fans, they are promised to customers as reward for loyalty or tied up in corporate packages and jollys. The loyalty of supporters isn’t priceless after all.

The other sponsors have not bothered even to acknowledge our call.

This unequal distribution of tickets, weighing heavily in favour of companies and corporates rather than supporters, is not new. And it isn’t just an issue for our fan base, but for supporters across Europe. The Champions League and Europa Cup finals should be for the fans, but we are the one group who seem not to count in the UEFA family.

The disdain with which fans are treated was underlined by the lack of a response from LFC to SOS’s request to subsidise ticket prices.

It is time to act. To let all those involved in the game at this level – UEFA, the clubs, sponsors and broadcasters – know it is time to give back. To realise the part supporters play.

SOS will continue to make ourselves heard. We will work to build a coalition of supporters across Europe until we can no longer be ignored and those at the top recognise football, first and foremost, is #ForTheFans.