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Supporters Groups Upset with MLS Cup Away Ticket Allocation

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Supporters Groups from all four teams remaining in the playoffs have banded together to raise their concerns.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-FC Dallas at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

We here at The Blue Testament aren’t in the habit of just posting press releases and not adding a lot of commentary. Let’s make an exception. On Wednesday, Supporters Groups from Sporting Kansas City, the Portland Timbers, Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls got together to voice their displeasure with how Atlanta United are handling away ticket allocation should they host MLS Cup. Yes, even Atlanta’s own SG is upset with the team.

The root issue is that around the world generally 5% of all tickets are made available to away fans. If the Red Bulls were to pull out a comeback from being down 3-0, they have agreed to such allocation of road tickets. However, Atlanta is offering a meager 900 tickets, or 1.25% of their 72,000+ seats. The stadium also has the ability to be expanded to approximately 83,000 seats.

Here is the press release from The Cauldron, Timbers Army, Terminus Legion and Empire Supporters Club:

A Joint Statement

on Behalf of the Kansas City Cauldron, Timbers Army/107IST, Terminus Legion, and Empire Supporters Club

While Sporting KC and the Portland Timbers prepare for the second leg of the Western conference final on Thursday, the Kansas City Cauldron and Timbers Army are forced to address the potential away supporters’ ticket allocation for MLS Cup.

Both of our organizations have been informed that there will be approx 1000 tickets available for away supporters in Red Bull Arena should they advance. That number is very close the 5% away fan allocation that MLS supporters have been requesting for a number of years.

Our concern, and frankly outrage, lies in the preparation for a match at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. At this time we are being offered 900 tickets. That number is simply a slap in the face to all supporters that travel week in and week out to support their clubs. The capacity for the stadium is 72,000 which could be expanded for MLS Cup. 5% of that capacity would be 3,600 or more than 3 times what is being offered.

There are roughly 30-35k Atlanta United season ticket holders. That still leaves 40k single game tickets available in the stadium for a final.

First and most important, offering such a small number of supporter group tickets in a stadium with such a large capacity will create a major security concern. Away supporters will go to the secondary market when they are unable to secure tickets through the normal away ticket allocation process. Away fans will then be scattered throughout the stadium, putting both home and away fans in potentially dangerous situations for no reason.

We understand the advantage of being the host. That said, accommodating away fans when there is a non-neutral site must be a priority. Four of the most passionate fan bases in the league remain. The largest stadium in the league is most likely to host, and the two teams that will face off against them are being offered fewer tickets than the smaller of the two sites. This is simply unacceptable and does nothing to continue the growth of our clubs and league.

Kansas City has traveled with 1300 to Colorado for an away playoff game and over 1000 to Dallas for a regular season game. Portland’s weekly traveling support is well documented around the league and demand for an MLS cup ticket will once again be incredibly high.

We request that the Away Supporter allotment in Atlanta be immediately raised to the generally recognized FIFA 5% for away fans. Passion exists throughout the league and we must support that passion, regardless of where a club comes from.

[The Kansas City Cauldron is an independent non-profit dedicated to the support soccer in Kansas City since 1996. The Cauldron works to create the best environment for supporters as well as advocate for all fans with the Sporting Kansas City’s ownership and staff. You can find more information at www.kccauldron.com]

[The mission of the 107 Independent Supporters Trust (107IST) is to support soccer in and around Portland, Oregon, from the grassroots to the highest professional level. The 107IST is a member-based non-profit organization open to anyone who loves soccer, the Timbers/Thorns, and Portland. http://www.timbersarmy.org]

Head to Twitter and you’ll see those salty Atlanta fans, with their less than two years of soccer knowledge, acting like this is a non-issue. We disagree and stand with the Supporters Groups in asking that Atlanta United and Major League Soccer make this right.

[In the interest of full disclosure, the author and other members of the TBT staff are card carrying members of The KC Cauldron.]