Getafe giving back at a time when fans need it the most

18 May 2020 | Clubs & Rightsholders
Getafe giving back at a time when fans need it the most
Football has been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sport has been plunged into chaos. Adjusting to a new normal has become the modus operandi of football fans across Europe. While the Bundesliga resumed behind closed doors last weekend, it is expected that LaLiga will get underway next month.

Spanish football clubs have suffered economic hardship over the past couple of months while the game has been put on pause. However, there was a notable feel good story that recently emerged and it will have caught the eye. Getafe’s president, Angel Torres, has shown an extraordinary amount of generosity by giving all existing season ticket holders a free pass to all league games from next season. LaLiga’s season ticket prices are considerably more expensive compared to some of their continental neighbours. There’s no hiding away from the fact that attending matches can hit supporters hard by the pocket who are on lower incomes. Matchday tickets can be in excess of £80 and when you factor in travel and food costs too, it all mounts up.

So it was refreshing to hear Torres’ masterplan to keep the fans on side.

Upon announcing the move, he said: “We are not going to charge them. Let them know that they are not going to pay anything. My pockets will pay for it.

“I did not go into bankruptcy, I did not use an ERTE (state aid) and the players and the Treasury are up to date.”

In giving something back to the fans, it is arguably the best gift they could have received. Ultimately, the fans are the shareholders of the club as they are inextricably tied to it and they should be rewarded for their unyielding loyalty.

Torres’ gesture, however, shouldn’t be seen as a gimmick or a ploy to win the hearts and minds of the fans. No other owner has reached out in the way he has done. While some Premier League clubs have suspended their season ticket renewal process, or intend to offer fans rebates such as Liverpool and Manchester United, Torres has gone a step further.

Of course, Getafe had been having a good season before the campaign came to a halt and they are fifth in the table and locked in a battle to qualify for the Champions League next term.

There has been no clarity provided as to when fans may be able to re-enter stadiums and cheer on their teams again, although the science will ultimately dictate when that can happen.

Sometimes, it can be easy to take the fans for granted. As far as LaLiga clubs are concerned, they rely on match day revenues from supporters going through turnstiles as they don’t get much of a look-in from broadcasters with Real Madrid and Barcelona usually getting prime billing.

In the case of Getafe, Torres’ gesture has only served to strengthen the links between club and community. Football has experienced exponential growth over the past few years, but the fans have often been left behind and largely forgotten about. Once the pandemic is over, Getafe will emerge more united and perhaps feel-good stories such as this should inspire other clubs to follow suit.

Written by Charles Perrin

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