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Schalke apologises over ‘insensitive’ hardship refund form

Bundesliga club Schalke faces backlash over its refund form, while the MLB’s New York Yankees and Mets update their refund policy…


German Bundesliga football club Schalke 04 has apologised to fans over a refund form that was considered insensitive by some for asking ticket-holders to detail why they needed to be reimbursed.

The form was issued for fans who wished to claim a ticket refund for Bundesliga games now taking place behind closed doors for the rest of the season due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

All Bundesliga clubs must offer refunds should they be requested, however Schalke’s hardship refund form asked for specific reasons and proof of financial difficulty.

It read: “Why do you need the money now? Elaborate on your case of hardship and if possible submit respective documentation.”

Supporters criticised the club’s approach immediately, leading to an apology from the club, which assured ticketholders that “no one will need to hand in documents and of course no one will be ‘controlled’”.

It continued: “In the letter to fans… Schalke used impersonal and not very sensitive expressions. For that the club and employees of the service centre would like to apologise to all fans. We could and should have expressed it better.”

Although all ticket-holders can claim refunds, Bundesliga clubs have offered ticket-holders vouchers for unused match tickets in a bid to retain revenue. The Bundesliga was suspended in March following the outbreak, with games resuming behind closed doors last month.

Oval Test Match

More than 85 per cent of cricket fans have opted to rollover their tickets for the cancelled 2020 Oval Test match between England and the West Indies to the 2021 event against India.

Ticketholders were offered the option to either claim a full refund or move their tickets to next year’s match, retaining the same seats for the same day of play.

Tickets had reportedly sold out for the first four days of action at the 25,500-capacity The Oval cricket ground, which is home to Surrey County Cricket Club. The event was scheduled to kick off today (Thursday).

The England versus West Indies match will now be played at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on July 8 behind closed doors.

Charlie Hodgson, managing director of The Oval, said: “The interest in next year’s India Test Match is a real testament to the passion and loyalty of cricket fans in this country.

“Whilst it’s incredibly disappointing for everyone that the Test Match summer is not beginning today at the Kia Oval, there are currently bigger things we all need to work together to achieve.

“The clear desire shown by fans to attend next year’s Test represents a massive vote of confidence in English cricket and the Kia Oval and our continued ability to host sold out Test Matches that provide a full day of world class sport in a unique and special environment.”

The venue will offer a second opportunity for refunds when the dates of next year’s match are confirmed by the ECB.

New York Yankees and Mets

New York’s Major League Baseball franchises, the Yankees and the Mets, yesterday (Wednesday) added their May games to their ‘Impacted’ list allowing fans to obtain refunds.

The move follows criticism from fans after the teams announced their original refund policies, which covered games that were scheduled for March and April.

Most other MLB teams had included May games on their impacted lists and allowed fans to recuperate money spent on tickets for that month.

Both franchises are offering credits and refunds, though have made the latter option more difficult to locate.

The Mets added the same warning from late April that, “all ticket refunds will result in the forfeiture of bonus credit and priority ticket access.”

Season ticket accounts that opt to choose the credit option will receive bonus credit equal to 20 per cent of their 2020 payments for impacted games with a maximum bonus credit of $15,000 per account.

Other MLB teams yet to announce their May games as ‘impacted’ include the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Texas Rangers only seem to be offering May game refunds for single game ticket holders at the moment.

MLB is hoping to restart games in mid-July, but have not yet reached a decision. This week, the league rejected the players’ proposal for a 114-game regular season and will instead look to a shortened slate of perhaps 50 games or fewer, the Associate Press reports.

Image: Orchi