Dear Season Ticket Holder,
It's been a fantastic first half of the season. Your support has been tremendous - and we thank you for that.
The purpose of this open letter to all season-ticket holders is to clarify the club's policy on the current season-ticket upgrade system as, for reasons I shall explain and ahead of our next home match with Middlesbrough, we will begin a more robust enforcement of our policy.
Unfortunately, whilst the overwhelming majority of supporters do not abuse the current system, a relatively small - but not insignificant - number of issues have been brought to our attention. Spot checks at our last home match also highlighted an increase in the number of adults attempting to use junior and concession tickets to gain access to the stadium.
The club allows season-ticket holders to upgrade a maximum of SIX junior/concession tickets to concession/adult tickets in a season using a pro-rated adult season ticket price, plus a booking fee. Many clubs don't allow this but those clubs who do, such as Derby County and Charlton Athletic, for example, limit their season-ticket holders to less upgrades than we do.
We allow up to six upgrades because we fully appreciate that our younger fans may struggle to commit to every match, particularly midweek evening games that fall on a school night. At the seventh time of asking for an upgrade we will allow the season ticket to be fully upgraded for the remainder, of the season but we do not permit any further match by match upgrades.
As per our terms and conditions of ticket sale, all supporters must have the appropriate ticket in the correct age-bracket when entering the stadium. Anyone stopped trying to enter the stadium using a ticket for the incorrect age bracket will be refused entry, may have their information passed to Sussex Police for possible prosecution and, at the very least, will be charged the full adult matchday price as, at this point, fans will not be permitted to upgrade.
From next season, and in addition to paying the full match day ticket price, we will also be introducing a penalty fee for anyone who tries to enter stadium using an inappropriate concession ticket. We would also like to remind all fans of the club’s right to cancel any season ticket without refund if our terms and conditions of sale are found to have been breached. This includes passing a season ticket to another fan who subsequently attempts to use it fraudulently.
Finally, we reserve the right to recover any historical monies found to be owing to the club from anyone whose season ticket is found to have been used fraudulently to consistently gain entry to the stadium, without the correct ticket price being paid. We will do this to protect the club's legitimate revenues and also out of respect to the vast majority of our supporters who have paid the correct ticket price.
With the club's losses running to £10.4m this year alone - entirely funded by our chairman, Tony Bloom - it's very disappointing and totally unacceptable that a very small minority of supporters see fit to add to that significant financial burden, and abuse the flexibility we offer, by knowingly failing to pay the correct price for their ticket to the match. As such, I do hope that season-ticket holders will understand and fully support the club's approach on this matter.