Pompey move to ease season ticket backlash from fans

FEARS Many Pompey fans had concerns over where  their money was going
FEARS Many Pompey fans had concerns over where their money was going
Luke Leahy is congratulated for his opener Picture: Joe Pepler

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POMPEY have assured fans that money paid for season tickets will go straight in to the club’s coffers.

The club moved to quell fears as they faced a huge backlash from supporters last night.

Chief executive David Lampitt

Chief executive David Lampitt

Some fans even took to sending in IOUs for their season ticket renewal rather than stump up the cash to meet Pompey’s tight payment deadline.

Concerns centred on the fact fans have been asked to pay hundreds of pounds to Portsmouth Realisations Ltd – a firm set up as part of Pompey’s administrators last year.

Some fans feared it was a separate company to the club and they might face problems getting their money back if necessary.

But in response to questions from The News, Pompey said PFC Realisations Ltd is just the name on the club’s bank account.

Spokesman Mark Storey said: ‘Quite simply, this is the club’s day-to-day bank account and belongs to Portsmouth Football Club 2010 Ltd.

‘PFC Realisations Ltd was the name of the new company formed to purchase the assets of the club from the administrator.

‘The name of the company has since been changed to Portsmouth Football Club 2010 Ltd, but the club’s bank account name has remained PFC Realisations Ltd.’

The club is still facing pressure over its plan for season ticket sales.

Fans only have until the end of the month to stump up the cash for a discounted ‘early bird’ season ticket.

But they can’t pay using credit or debit card.

The club says this is because it is trying to renegotiate the current deal it has with its merchant provider.

‘They take all the money and drip feed it back to us over the season in one 23rds,’ said Mr Storey, adding: ‘We just can’t do that so we’re renegotiating our position.’

He said the club recognises that it is ‘not ideal’.

Fans are fuming that they have such a short space of time to pay up.

Tim Wall from Petersfield said: ‘I am very disappointed in the way the club is treating its most loyal fans.

‘How can they expect fans to get their hands on such large sums of money at such short notice?’

Business finance expert Julie Palmer of firm Begbies Traynor said: ‘It sounds as if the club wants to get the money in now because the summer months present much more of a challenge for football clubs. This is because you don’t have the gate receipts but you still have the same overheads. That’s probably why the club is asking supporters to put so much up front.’

The club has told fans that they can take out interest-free finance deals with Zebra Finance Ltd. Some supporters have expressed concern that Zebra is listed as ‘no longer authorised’ by the Financial Services Authority.

But the club added it does not have to be FSA-registered because the firm no longer sells insurance. The club said Zebra are approved and registered with the Office of Fair Trading and all customers are covered under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Supporters’ trust issues list of demands to club

POMPEY fans last night issued a list of demands to the club’s board.

The Pompey Supporters Trust called on the club to:

· Include first two home cup games in the price of the season ticket or consider reducing the price increase.

· Remove the price increase for OAPs and fix it at the lower price in all phases.

· Extend the first early bird period until May 6, allowing the majority of people two further paydays.

· Hold season ticket holder seats until May 31.

· Allow payment by credit or debit card within the early bird period.

· Provide the facility for supporters to pay a deposit within the early bird period and settle the account by June 30.

· No third phase of pricing.

· Remove credit or debit card administration fees.

· Remove the concept of category A fixtures

· Provide areas of the ground that have cheaper match day tickets.

· Remove the £2 match day administration charge.

Your questions answered

Q. Why are fans being asked to send cheques to PFC Realisations Ltd?

A. PFC Realisations Ltd was the name of the new company formed to purchase the assets of the club from the administrator. Its name was changed to Portsmouth Football Club 2010 Ltd but the club’s bank account name has remained PFC Realisations Ltd.

Q. Why can’t fans use credit or debit card to pay for early bird tickets?

A. The existing merchant service provider will take that money and only drip-feed it back to the club in equal instalments after each home game over the course of next season.

The club is currently seeking an alternative provider that will not impose such restrictive terms, allowing fans to be able to pay by credit card or debit card. We have been dealing with this as a matter of priority.

Q. Is Zebra Finance FSA registered?

A. As Zebra Finance no longer sells insurance, they are not required to be FSA registered. They are approved and registered with the Office of Fair Trading and all customers are covered under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Q. If a supporter elects to pay Zebra now over a six-month interest-free arrangement, will Zebra pay Pompey right away?

A. There is a time delay while the arrangement is processed, but effectively the full amount is received up front by the club.

Supporters do have to pay a £20 administration fee if they use the interest-free Zebra Finance option but one transaction can be made to purchase more than one season ticket, with only one administration fee incurred.

Q. In the event of the season ticket not being provided to the purchaser, will he or she still owe the full debt to Zebra?

A. The club refused to answer this question.

Q. Why can’t supporters pay a deposit on the early bird purchase, with the full amount not due until later?

A. This option has not been available since the 2008/9 season, after which it was discontinued due to the practical and administrative difficulties associated with the collection of funds.

Q. Why are fans been given a shorter time period in which to buy a ticket this year compared to previous years?

A. This has been a difficult commercial decision based on the financial needs of the club and our determination to stick to the terms of the business plan overseen by the Football League.

Q. Is the Football League involved in any effort to safeguard or ring-fence monies paid by fans to purchase Pompey season tickets?

A. Not specifically in relation to season ticket monies, but the Football League continues to monitor all aspects of the club’s finances and cash flow on a month-to-month basis.

Q. Who was responsible for season ticket sales policy for 2011/12 season tickets?

A. The decision was made by the club’s board of directors.