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Brighton and Bournemouth back NHS staff with ticketing pledge

Premier League football clubs AFC Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove Albion have joined forces to donate a minimum of 1,000 match tickets each to UK National Health Service (NHS) staff for when football resumes following the Covid-19 outbreak.

The two clubs have extended the invitation to other clubs across the top tier of football in England, as well as to the English Football League (EFL) and other leagues across the UK.

The Premier League, EFL and English Football Association (FA) agreed to postpone football competitions in the country until at least April 30 due to the outbreak.

While the country moved into lockdown on Monday following an announcement from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, NHS staff continue to go to work and put themselves at risk to support others during the pandemic.

AFC Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn said: “We are absolutely delighted to match Brighton’s gesture and commit to one thousand tickets, and we will pass the baton to another club with the aim of reaching a significant target so football as a whole can show its appreciation for our country’s NHS workers.”

In a separate initiative, Brighton has announced a three-month payment holiday for season ticket-holders and members due to the added financial pressures that the pandemic has created.

The club’s directors decided that after April’s direct debit payment is taken, all renewing season-ticket holders and 1901 Club members will have the opportunity to opt in and take a three-month holiday from their monthly direct debits covering May, June and July.

The remaining balance will be taken over eight months (instead of 11) from August 2020 to March 2021. Therefore, an adult season-ticket holder in the north stand who renewed in the same seat for the new season will pay £17.03 more per month from August 20 to March 21.

More than 92 per cent of season-ticket holders have renewed their passes for the 2020-21 season.

Meanwhile, AFC Bournemouth has launched a separate initiative to support its ‘at risk’ fans during the Covid-19 crisis.

The club’s ticketing team will be reaching out to fans in its database that fall into the government’s ‘at risk’ category via phone calls.

Bournemouth said its employees will cover topics such as the love of the club and favourite AFC Bournemouth moments, as well as a weekly club quiz.

Liz Finney, AFC Bournemouth’s general manager, said: “Community has always been at the heart of everything we do here at AFC Bournemouth. Now, more than ever before, it is our duty to provide as much help and assistance as possible to those who need us.

“And with no tickets on sale for Premier League fixtures, we thought a good way to do this would be to speak directly to those supporters who are vulnerable and classed as ‘at risk’.

“For some, their weekly trip to the ticket office or Superstore at Vitality Stadium may be the only interaction they get with others. These calls allows us to maintain that contact with their club.”

Image: AFC Bournemouth