E-mail to club regarding away ticket bans

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Good Morning,

We have been contacted by a number of our members and others (selection of comments provided below) and have seen the reaction online regarding the clubs decision to issue ban's to people for the next six matches (3 home, 3 away), starting with Everton FC tomorrow on 19th October.

We feel that WHUFC are taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut over this particular issue, which is clearly and directly linked to the overall issue of away tickets and their allocation.

A blanket ban on anyone who was advertising the sale of a ticket we feel is a draconian measure. People may have any number of genuine reasons as to why they are no longer able to attend a football match. Those who abuse the system to "hoard" points are the ones who should be targeted, investigated and provided with clear and unequivocal evidence as to why they would be banned. This should not apply to everyone so we ask as a matter of urgency that you reconsider and withdraw the 6 match bans you have handed out in the last 48 hours so this issue can be properly addressed and discussed in a measured way with independent supporter associations like ourselves.

Co-Chair of West Ham United, David Gold, is known for using his Twitter feed to retweet people looking for tickets or wanting to sell tickets for both home and away matches. Indeed, he has retweeted requests for the Everton match and those who are looking to sell. Under the measures undertaken by yourselves on this matter, wouldn't you also consider Mr Gold as part of the issue and consider he too should receive a ban? Of course Mr Gold is not directly selling a ticket but his tweeting on this subject gives an impression that he and by extension the football club are in total approval of fans trying to sell tickets onto other fans.

You cannot have your cake and eat it if on the one hand you issue bans and on the other, an owner and co-chair of the football club is actively supporting the idea you can sell your ticket for an away match.

We ask you to withdraw these bans and to engage with us as an independent supporters association on this, and other issues that arise from time to time or are ongoing. The current situation the club finds itself in with regards to fan consultation is unsustainable and has lead to a lot of rancor, division and mistrust of the football club and those it chooses to engage with. This is not just the view of WHUISA but of the wider fanbase from what we can see online and from having conversations face to face with West Ham United fans. The frustration felt in large on this and many other issues is palpable and the current method being utilised by the football club to try and address genuine fan concerns is not working.

I look forward to receiving a prompt response that directly addresses the issues raised in this email.

Regards,

Sue Watson, Chair of West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association

Sample of comments provided by members and others to WHUISA:

"Unbelievable! I got a phone call from the ticket office telling me I am banned for tweeting I have a spare ticket for Everton. I was still going to go."

"Total joke. Club can't help but shoot itself in the foot time after time"

"There has to be a way of selling tickets on an exchange at face value if you or others are unable to attend an away match"

"Why now?"

"Legitimate concerns are raised by this decision. The fanbase is not happy at all"

Statement on bans for private away ticket sales

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WHUISA have been contacted by members and have also noted the strength of feeling regarding the decision by West Ham United to issue bans of varying lengths to fans who were advertising spare tickets on the eve of our upcoming match against Everton FC.

On this and many other topics, the football club do not make things easy for themselves by their decision not to engage with an independent supporters association, or not to provide clarity and transparency around the decisions they unilaterally take. All this takes place in an ongoing situation without meaningful and open fan dialogue.

The issue regarding allocation of away tickets and who exactly is entitled to or is able to obtain a ticket to an away match is an emotive subject with many different opinions on how to provide a fairer system for all.

Those who "hoard" priority points (name changed by WHUFC to loyalty) so they can obtain tickets to more sought after matches would need to be proven as having done this with clear evidence. Furthermore, they should be subject to the terms and conditions currently set out regarding ticket purchasing. Those who are unable to attend a match after purchasing a ticket for whatever reason must not be punished.

WHUISA feels that the football club is taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut on this subject and has emailed the club to relay this, as well as the comments of those members who contacted WHUISA.