The English Football Association has assured fans that FA Cup semi-final and final tickets offered by Emirates Airlines to their customers will not affect supporter allocation.
The airline, which is the FA Cup’s title sponsor, advertised Wembley tickets in exchange for 15,000 air miles.
The tickets being offered were in any of the four semi-finalists’ Wembley sections, which has led some Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham fans to question whether their tickets would instead go to Emirates customers.
A spokesman for the FA said that Emirates’ 250 sponsors’ tickets for each semi-final are not being drawn from the 32,000-plus allocations for each club, Sky Sports reports. It also said that sponsors’ tickets would not be behind either goal.
Fans expressed their displeasure at the advertisement on social media, with one fan tweeting: “What an utter farce, for 15,000 Emirates Miles you can guarantee yourself an Arsenal section semi-final ticket. Utterly shameful.”
All four Premier League giants – three of whom play nearby in London – boast attendances well above the allocation, meaning it will be a challenge for fans, and even season ticket holders, to get a seat at the semi-final or final.
The FA announced that ticket prices for this year’s FA Cup semi-finals and final have been frozen, with matches at Wembley Stadium to stay the same following last year’s reduction.
The semi-finals, which are being held on April 22 and 23, will remain at 2014 prices that range from £30 (€34/$36) to £60 for adults.
It was reported early in January that there had been a year-on-year drop in attendance for football’s FA Cup third round.
A total of 571,132 watched the 31 games that took place, which compares to 588,939 that attended the 32 matches last year.
The average attendance in January was 18,423, that compares to 18,404 last year, which was the highest average for the third round in 35 years.