British billionaire entrepreneur and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is being criticised by club supporters after some of them were charged for next season's tickets.
The ongoing Premier League season has been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite that, the English club decided to charge its fans for the next season's tickets.
NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) asked the club to suspend all the scheduled payments, calling the current circumstances an "incredibly difficult time" both for the club and its fans.
Reportedly, on Wednesday, some of the fans were charged £620, which they described as being an "incredibly disturbing" situation.
As of now, Newcastle United hasn't commented on the issue.
The Premier League will remain postponed until at least April 30, given the unprecedented spread of the deadly virus. Most of the major European countries have been hit hard by the pandemic. All sports events in the UK are halted. According to the latest reports, Spain's death toll crossed 4000, while Italy has witnessed over 7000 deaths.
The current global situation is worrisome and most clubs are finding a way to cope with the financial losses that they have sustained because of the unforeseen circumstances. Amidst such turmoil, Newcastle seems to have found a way to generate revenue by charging for the tickets for next season.
Meanwhile, NUST claimed to have already conducted talks with the club on this subject.
On Twitter, NUST released a statement that reads, "Newcastle United contacted us earlier today. The club stated it has no intention of freezing or delaying payments, both for those that pay annually and monthly. Newcastle United can still act now and provide much-needed support and relief for their fans that are in financial difficulty due to this global emergency."
Understandably, the club had earlier warned the supporters that they would be charged for the season tickets. It is the usual payment schedule for supporters who are included in the price-freeze, long-term package.
Some Premier League clubs, however, have offered "payment holidays" for their season ticket holders in an attempt to ease the financial burden on their supporters.
Because of the coronavirus crisis, many people are out of work, and it seems the upcoming weeks and months would be even more difficult. Amidst such a situation, it has to be seen whether Newcastle United takes a step back and initiate a refund to its fans.