Colchester United have launched a new ticket purchasing scheme for the 2020/21 season, taking into account COVID-19 protocols and risks.
In addition to the statement Chairman Robbie Cowling made on August 10th, the following explains the Match Permit scheme:
Attending Games – 2020/21 Season
I’m sure you can appreciate that the situation regarding mass gatherings is very fluid and may therefore change at any moment.
However, it’s also very complicated and needs to be well planned. Therefore, we have used all of the information that is currently available to us to devise a system that we believe is flexible enough to cope with most of the changes that will be inflicted upon it, and provides great value for those who use it whatever the circumstances are.
We plan to have it on sale before the first league game of the season and we believe some fans will be attending games again in October.
We are making the following assumptions:
No away fans will be allowed to attend which means all sections of the stadium can be used for Colchester United supporters.
The stadium will have to be zoned to ensure those associated with the teams never cross paths with those who are not.
The number of attendees allowed will depend on how active the virus is both locally and nationally and our ability to mitigate its spread.
The numbers may vary at very short notice. The percentages allowed could rise, lower or cease altogether on a match by match basis.
We don’t know how long these measures will have to be in place for.
Tickets would be valid for a specific block, such as S1, but not for a specific seat.
The EFL will also allow streaming as an alternative even for games played at 3pm on a Saturday.
We are making the following seating arrangements to ensure that fans are seated at least 1m apart:
We will allow two blank seats between bubbles.
Every other row would be removed and replaced with a step.
Bubbles will be told that they must arrive together and when they take their seat they will be allowed to select any row but must take the furthest seat in the row that is three seats from first bubble they encounter (leaving a gap of two seats).
We are creating a unique product to deal with the following issues
The initial games for the 2020/21 season will be played behind closed doors.
When fans are allowed in the initial capacity that the governing bodies will permit is likely to be low.
The permitted number of attendees could increase at any time.
The permitted number of attendees could reduce at any time.
Allowing fans into games could be retracted at any time.
The reasons given above make our current ticket options unsuitable and a product that is more flexible is required.
CUFC Match Permit
To attend a game during the 2020/21 season, a fan will need to purchase a CUFC Match Permit and this will only be available online.
Holders will not be issued with a physical permit but details of their permit will be displayed on their dashboard when they log in to their account on www.colutickets.com. Privilege Card funds can be used as full or part payment for a CUFC Match Permit.
When purchasing a CUFC Match Permit, the fan will be given an option of joining an existing bubble or creating a new bubble.
However, bubbles will be restricted to a maximum of eight people and fans should only join Bubbles if doing so meets the government guidance on social distancing.
Every CUFC Match Permit holder will be given a priority number which will relate to the order they are purchased in and may come in to effect if there is a situation where the number of fans that are allowed to attend is less than the number of Permits sold.
For example, we may initially be allowed 2,500 fans at games and sell 2,500 Permits. However, restriction may be introduced that only allows 1,500 attendees. In that case, only the Permit holders numbered 1 - 1,500 will be allowed to attend.
If the restrictions are more complicated and we have to reduce each block by 20% then for each individual block the 20% of fans with the highest permit holder number will be denied access.
To ensure the Permit Holders know if they can attend a game or not, the system will either send them a Print@Home match ticket 48 hours beforehand or a notice that they can’t attend the game and why not.
The notice will also provide details of how they can still watch the game on iFollow at no cost because whilst a permit holder is being denied access to attend a game, they will be provided with free access to watch Colchester United home and away games on iFollow.
It is likely that a low number of fans will be allowed to attend games initially with more being allowed as time goes by.
Therefore, the permits will be released in batches. Whenever we release a batch of permits, they will offer access to the rest of the season’s fixtures and will be priced using the 2019/20 Early Bird price for each section, multiplying by the number of games remaining and then applying the following discount:
If more than 16 games remaining, 7.5% discount.
If between 15 and 11 games remaining, 5% discount.
If between 10 and 6 games remaining, 2.5% discount.
If 5 or less games remaining, 0% discount.
For example, if an Adult fan purchases a CUFC Match Permit for S1 in the South Stand and there are 21 home games remaining then they will pay £301.09 ((21 x £15.50) * 92.5%.
Prioritising Permit Sales
If the capacity is restricted, especially at first when only a very small percentage are likely to be allowed to watch live games, then it is likely that demand will be greater than supply. Therefore we would apply a priority process for buying online.
Priority 1 - For last season’s Season Ticket/Annual Subscription holders.
Priority 2 - Anyone with Match Credits.
Priority 3 - Anyone with at least £50 loaded on a Privilege Card.
Priority 4 - General Sale.
As described above, each Permit would be given a sequential number and that will be used in the event that attendance to a game has to be provided to fewer fans than there are permit holders.
The sequential numbering will occur as the Permits are purchased so it could be possible that someone who buys on general sale has a higher priority, (a lower number), than a fan who was one of last season’s Season Ticket holders if the latter bought after Priority four sales went online.
It is of course possible that a bubble becomes reduced in size because some members of the bubble are denied access to a game due to their priority number being higher than the permitted number whilst others in the same bubble have a priority number that is lower than the permitted number.
Apologies if this all sounds complicated, but this is a complicated situation and hopefully we can write a more simple explanation in due course.