Colchester United Chairman, Robbie Cowling, has issued the following statement.
I hope you have all been enjoying that nice weather we had over the weekend. I also hope you’ve had a chance to watch our recent streams on Col U TV. We’re really pleased with the feedback we have had from the show we did live to present the prize draw for the Loyal Supporter Shirts and also for the shows we did to announce our latest signings. I’m hoping that by the time you are reading this statement that we have gone out with a couple more new signings too.
The main reason I am writing this statement is to update everyone on the situation regarding ticket sales now that we have found out via Boris’ latest announcement that we won’t be removing all Covid-19 restrictions on the 21st June 2021 with a new target being set for July 19th 2021.
Although the news is disappointing it is not surprising and although we would like things to go back to exactly how they were before the pandemic I still don’t believe that is likely to happen on the 19th of July or in fact any day soon after that. However, with the new season not that far away I don’t feel we can wait any longer before we decide as a club what we are going to do regarding ticket sales in these ever changing times.
The positive news is that the Permit system that we developed last season was not only extremely safe but was also very robust and very flexible. It allows us to work with whatever restrictions there are and if all restrictions suddenly get completely lifted only to be re-introduced again it can deal with that too.
Finding that safe and viable solution was far from easy but I don’t believe any part of the permit system to be more complicated than it needs to be.
So let’s continue by describing the products and when they will go on sale.
For this season, once again, we can’t guarantee anyone will be able to buy a seat in their historic section of the stadium let alone the specific seat they may have sat in from the very first match at the JobServe Community Stadium.
In fact, it is possible to be allocated different seats game on game. This has not been introduced to annoy anyone. We appreciate some of you were creatures of habit and as soon as we can return everyone to their old match-day rituals the better.
The Covid-19 specific product is known as a CUFC Match Permit and will only be available online unless:
- You have a disability, in which case you will need to call the ticket office on 01206 755161 to buy your permit; Or
- You want to buy a seat in an area reserved for the match-day hospitality packages, in which case you will need to call our sales team on 01206 752020.
Those who buy Match Permits are not issued with a physical permit but the details of their permit will be displayed on their dashboard when they log in to their account on www.colutickets.com.
Permit holders will be sent their match tickets 24 hours before each fixture to allow for the possibility of Covid-19 restrictions forcing us to deny anyone access from specific games. Depending upon how strict the restrictions are at the time, a time slot may be provided to advise the ticket holder when we would like them to arrive at the stadium.
Should restriction lead to access being denied, we will provide alternative streamed access to the fixture via iFollow plus a partial refund to a Privilege Card where required.
Exiting the stadium may also be staggered, but if it is then this will be managed on the day of a game by an announcer using the public address system.
There are three versions of Match Permits which are as follows:
Seasonal Match Permit
The Seasonal Match Permits will go on sale from the 1st July 2021 and will provides access (when permitted) to all 23 home league matches for the 2021-2022 season.
The permits will be priced using the 2019/20 Early Bird price for each section as a base price and then applying a 7.5% discount. To help you calculate how much it could cost, use the Early Bird Table by clicking HERE.
The sale of the Seasonal Match Permits will be prioritised as follows:
On Thursday 1st July, they will be available to anyone who bought a seasonal CUFC Seasonal Match Permit last season and they will be able to buy two 2021-22 Seasonal CUFC Match Permits per 2020-21 Seasonal CUFC Match Permit.
On Monday 5th July, they will also be available to anyone who did not qualify for Priority 1 but has at least 1 Match Credit or at least 1 Loyal Supporter token. These fans will be able to buy 1 CUFC Seasonal Match Permit per person.
On Wednesday 7th July, they will be available to anyone who did not qualify for Priority 1 or 2 but has at least £50 loaded on a Privilege Card. These fans will be able to buy 1 CUFC Seasonal Match Permit per person.
On Monday 12th July, they will be available on General Sale.
If access to the stadium is denied to any of the games in the 2021/22 season, an alternative streamed access to that fixture will be provided via iFollow and a partial refund will be allocated to a Privilege Card if appropriate.
To purchase your Seasonal Match Permit from the 1st July, go to colutickets.com.
CUFC Multi-Match Permit
The Multi-Match Permits will go on sale from Monday 12th July and will provide access to successive home league matches. The purchaser will have the option of purchasing all of the remaining home league fixtures or the next 5, 10 or 15. For example; if there are 19 games remaining, they can select 19, 15, 10 or 5.
The permits will be priced using the 2019/20 Early Bird price for each section as a base price. The cost of the Permit will be calculated by multiplying the Early Bird Price by the number of games selected and then applying the following discount:
- If 5 or less games selected, 0% discount.
- If between 10 and 6 games selected, 2.5% discount.
- If between 15 and 11 games selected, 5% discount.
- If more than 16 games selected, 7.5% discount.
For example, if an Adult fan purchases a CUFC Match Permit for all remaining games to sit in S1 in the South Stand and there are 21 home games remaining, then they will pay £301.09 ((21 x £15.50) x 92.5%).
If access is denied to a fixture during the permit holder’s match sequence, then they will be granted access to the next home fixture at the end of their batch of games. If that is not possible because all of the fixtures for the season have been exhausted, then a refund will be allocated to a Privilege Card for the value of the denied fixtures.
To purchase your Multi-Match Permit from Monday 12th July, go to colutickets.com.
CUFC Single Match Permit
For EFL League fixtures CUFC Single Match Permits will be available online at colutickets.com on a game by game basis whereby the permits will go on sale 7 days prior to kick off.
I still need more information from the EFL in terms of cup matches and in particular what is happening in terms of away support before I can determine how these are going to be sold.
If access is denied to a fixture, a refund will be allocated to a Privilege Card for the value of the denied fixture.
I know I’m hitting you with a lot of information but please don’t purchase before you understand this bit.
As I mentioned above, the bubble sizes are really important to us because the bigger the bubbles the less seats we have to lose to create spaces between the bubbles. We have made it easy for fans to create or join a bubble when they purchase a permit because many of you will want to purchase separately but sit together as a bubble.
Therefore, it’s vital that you know the exact name of the bubble you want to create/join when you make your purchase. We do generate bubble names when a bubble is being created but these are not exactly memorable so we have also allowed them to be edited to allow for more memorable names.
Please agree a bubble name with those that you are going to sit with and share the name between the group before you all go on to purchase.
Match Permits in General
All Match Permit sales are to be made online apart from those being purchased by disabled fans who will need to call the ticket office and those buying hospitality packages who need to call the sales office.
Every CUFC Match Permit holder will be given a priority number which will relate to the order they are purchased in. Using the priority number may come in to effect if there is a situation where the number of fans that are allowed to physically attend is less than the number of Permits sold. For example, we may sell 2,000 Match permits but have to restrict attendees for the very first game we host to just 1,000. We still don’t know these things.
Once we start hosting games, Permit Holders will be notified 48 hours prior to a fixture whether they can attend the game or not. This will have been decided by the restrictions imposed at that time and the Permit holder’s priority. If they can attend, then the following two stage process will be required before the tickets are sent to them:
An email message that contains a link to a Covid-19 notice and a questionnaire which they must complete. The notice will inform them of the current rules and guidelines for the stadium and the questionnaire will ask them questions that relate to their suitability for attending a game. For example, it will ask if they have had certain symptoms that are known to indicate they may have the coronavirus. They will need to acknowledge the notice and pass the questionnaire to progress to stage two.
An email message with their Print@Home match ticket attached and a document that will provide clear instructions on how to arrive at the stadium, use the stadium and leave the stadium. The scanners we will be using will be able to scan the tickets from a smart phone so there is no need to print the ticket if you can use this method as an alternative.
The actual seat that the fan is allocated will be done on a match by match basis and the fan might find themselves in a different seat for every game. If for any reason we have to move them to another section, and the price for a seat in that section is priced lower than what they have paid, then we will top-up a Privilege Card with the difference.
If the Seasonal Permit holder is denied access to the stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions, they will be provided with an email notice explaining why they could not attend and the message will contain a method of accessing the live iFollow stream. They will also receive a top-up to a Privilege Card that is equal to the difference between the cost of their ticket and the cost of iFollow.
If the Permit holder was allowed to attend but fails stage one of the process above, then they will be sent an email notice explaining why they could not attend and the message will contain a method of accessing the live iFollow stream free of charge.
I appreciate that pre-season fixtures have also been arranged and I plan to make a statement about access to those games by the end of the month.
The last 15 months have been very testing for all of us but all things considered we are in decent shape. Thanks to all of you that have supported the club during this most difficult of times. Every penny you have spent has been appreciated and the club is continually grateful.
Up the U’s