Manchester United have issued compensation to fans who had brought tickets for their last game before the coronavirus pandemic saw football across Europe shut down.
Supporters who bought tickets for United's Europe League match away to LASK in Austria two weeks ago will be compensated to the tune of £350 (Dh1,505).
United will also pay the wages of all their 3,000 casual match day staff until the end of the season and along with their rivals Manchester City, the club have donated money to a Manchester food bank. Affecting a far larger number of their supporters is the season ticket renewal date.
United limit their season tickets to 55,000 in the 73,000 capacity Old Trafford and there’s a substantial waiting list. Prices have been held for a ninth consecutive year and at present their deadline for renewing for next season in May 1.
With the prospect of no football before then and four league games remaining in the current season, the club say they will review this. “In light of the disruption caused by coronavirus, the club is reviewing dates, policies and procedures around season ticket renewals for next season, along with the administrative processes should games that are currently postponed be either cancelled or played behind closed doors. We are consulting with MUST (Manchester United Supporters Trust) as part of that review.”
MUST are surveying their members for feedback on the postponement of the renewal date, the impact of financial hardship due to coronavirus crisis and refunds for the current season's matches if games are not played in public.
“We would like to thank fans for their patience while we work through the uncertainties around the timing of forthcoming games, with an aim of ensuring that fans are treated fairly,” United said.
“We look forward to the resumption of football when we are advised that it is safe and appropriate. In the meantime our priority remains the health of fans, players, staff and our wider communities. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Covid-19, as well as those fighting in the front line against this virus on behalf of all of us, and we urge our fans to continue following government advice.”
The Premier League have called a meeting among their member clubs where the reduction of salaries will be discussed. United will be central to those discussions. The English giants have the second highest wage bill in world football after Barcelona.
Barcelona’s four captains, including Lionel Messi, met with their club on Tuesday to discuss reducing their salaries by up to 70 per cent. No agreement has been reached, but the players were receptive to reductions while games are not being played due to the disruption. Spanish football has postponed indefinitely.