Arsenal have been urged to consider banning season tickets of fans who fail to show up to games at the Emirates. Tim Payton, a spokesman for the Arsenal Supporters' Trust, is frustrated by the number of empty seats seen at home games and has called for Arsenal's hierarchy to take action.
Each season, thousands of Arsenal tickets are bought but not used by the buyer or even made available via the club ticket exchange. On Wednesday night (19 October), for instance, Arsenal officially welcomed a sell-out crowd for their Champions League win against Ludogorets. However, thousands of empty seats were still visible around the stadium.
"It's disappointing to see so many empty seats at 'sold-out' matches when the demand is clearly there," Payton explained ahead of Arsenal's annual general meeting (AGM) on Monday (24 October), as quoted by the Daily Telegraph.
"If someone is only using the ticket a few times a year then they should be warned and after that they should lose their priority for the next season.
"It is a win-win to get this sorted. More people on a match-day means new fans and extra revenue in other areas but, crucially, it would also improve the atmosphere and benefit the team."
Payton said the Arsenal board's attitude towards the issue will reveal how concerned they are with "the next generation of young fans".
"If Arsenal are concerned only with making money then the board won't be bothered how many ticket holders actually attend," he said. "If they're interested in the atmosphere within the ground and in encouraging the next generation of young fans to become regulars then this issue should be a major concern."
In 2014, the Metropolitan Police revealed that the official average gate attendance at the Emirates in the previous season was just 53,788, which is around 6,000 below the number given by the club on match day.