‘We hope many will take up one of the attractive NON cash refund plans’ – Evans on range of 19/20 season ticket rebate options
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town have today announced five different compensation options regarding season tickets for the curtailed 2019/20 campaign, with owner Marcus Evans saying that he hopes supporters will be able to help the club during the coronavirus crisis by choosing ‘one of the attractive NON cash refund plans’.
The Blues saw five home games cancelled due to Covid-19, leaving their season ticket holders – of which there were roughly 12,000 – entitled to a rebate. One month on from the vote to cancel the remainder of the League One campaign, the club have finally revealed what they are offering.
The options are outlined in full below, but in summary it’s a choice between donating the money to the club, receiving it in boosted value vouchers to spend (in person) on tickets/merchandise, or claiming a cash refund which will be drip-fed back into bank accounts over a period of at least 10 months. A hybrid option – where half the money is donated and half is refunded – is also available.
If all 12,000 or so supporters took the full cash refund option it would cost the club in the region of £800k.
Writing to 2019/20 season ticket holders, of which close to 9,000 have already renewed for the 2020/21 campaign (despite no-one yet knowing when it will start and when/if fans will be able to attend games), Evans said: “Dear supporter, As you will be aware our 2019/20 season ended eight games early, with five of those games to have been played at Portman Road. The club has been working on a make-good plan for all those who had season tickets, or had bought match tickets for those games missed.
“We have recently released details of what is available to those who purchased individual match tickets and below you will find what we hope you will see as an extensive range of compensation options for season ticket holders. Whichever option you decide, I’d like to thank you for your support over the past season.
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“Relegation from the Championship was hard to take, and the 2019/20 season ended in disappointment after starting so brightly, but there is no doubt that the year ahead presents the biggest challenge of my time as owner at this fantastic football club.
“Covid-19 has affected each and every one of us. The health and safety of all will always be the primary focus but we are also just beginning to see the economic fall-out from the pandemic and football will certainly not be immune from that.”
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The Blues owner has funded annual losses of between £3m and £5m in recent years, that figure much higher in the early years which followed his late 2007 takeover. The club’s £96.3m debt is owed exclusively to him and, in reality, it’s a vast amount of money he will never get back given how far Town are removed from the riches of the Premier League.
Evans continued: “Wigan have just gone into administration and I fear there will be more clubs to follow. We have been hit harder than most in League One but I will continue to provide the financial stability to maintain the club’s competitiveness as much as possible, though as always much will depend on the continuing support of our great fan base.
“Many of you will have seen the figures in the local media of the ‘£10m black hole’ that we face if next season is played behind closed doors. It’s a worst case scenario – and the indications are that fans will be phased back into stadiums at some stage – but that worst case scenario is what we have to be prepared for.
“We are in unprecedented times. No-one really knows a timescale for getting back to normality, so that makes it so difficult to plan, but it’s my job as owner to make sure Ipswich Town can go forward on a stable footing.
“We will need to add to what is already a very competitive squad to give us the best chance of achieving promotion; we need to continue to invest in the future and we have done that recently with new long-term contracts for Luke Woolfenden and Armando Dobra; we need to continue to fund the academy so that conveyor belt of homegrown players functions. That funding will have to increase if the grants from the Premier League are cut or reduced.
“It’s a balancing act though because aside from the season ticket renewal income we’ve had through direct debits and one-off payments, we have had no significant income coming into the club since our season was put on hold in March. With that in mind and the uncertainty ahead, we are hoping that many of you will take up one of the attractive NON cash refund plans available in the list of compensation options.
“Where you decide to take a cash refund we have set the refund payments over a length of time to ‘spread the load’ and I hope supporters can understand the reasoning behind that.
“To the many of you who have renewed your season ticket for next year, I’d like to say thank you. To those who would prefer to wait until football and perhaps life becomes a little clearer, thank you too for your support.
“I hope we will see you all back at Portman Road sometime soon. These are challenging times for everyone. Stay safe.”
Season ticket holders from 2019/20 must take one of the following options, via the club’s website, by 5pm on Wednesday, July 22. If the club has not received notification by then, the full donation option will apply.
OPTION ONE – DONATE
Donate the money to the club for use in the academy or ITFC Community Trust. As a thank you to those taking up this option, the club will issue ‘cash’ vouchers for use at the stadium to the value of 50% of your donation value. (If, for example, the donation value is £100, you would receive £50 in vouchers).
OPTION TWO – SIX TICKETS
A pro rata credit to the value of six league matches (rather than the five which were cancelled) is added to your online account to be used towards match tickets, memberships and events for 2020/21.
OPTION THREE – BOOSTED VOUCHERS
‘Cash’ vouchers for use at the Planet Blue store (the new ‘completely different’ away kit is set to be revealed tomorrow), at the stadium for food and drink, for tickets at the matchday ticket office and for matchday hospitality. The club will add 25% on top of the refund value of the five missed games. So anyone entitled to, for example, a £100 refund will instead be issued with £125 in vouchers. Note: These vouchers cannot be spent online.
OPTION FOUR – DRIP-FED CASH REFUND
A pro rata cash refund for the cancelled five games. For those who have not renewed their season tickets for 20/21, or paid in full for one, will get that money paid back in three equal instalments (Sept 1, Jan 1, May 1). Those who have taken the 12 month interest free payment plan for a 20/21 season ticket will get the refund back across their remaining direct debit payments in equal instalments.
OPTION FIVE – THE HYBRID
This is 50/50 option. Donate 50% of the refund to the club for use in the academy or ITFC Community Trust. You would also receive a 50% cash refund repayable – again drip-fed back in equal instalments between now and next May. As a thank you to those taking up this option, the club would issue a ‘cash’ voucher for use at the stadium to the value of 25% of the donation value. If, for example, the donation value is £100, you would be issued £25 in vouchers.