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Stoke City opts for 11-game season tickets over ballot

Championship football club Stoke City FC has introduced half-price 11-game season tickets as an innovative way to bring fans back to the bet365 Stadium for the 2020-21 season.

The passes will be split into a red and a white category with the games in each category clearly defined and adult prices starting from £165.

Instead of opting for a ballot process like many other clubs, Stoke City said it “would not be fair as it would not have offered the certainty of a seat at every home league game for every season card holder” due to reduced capacity restrictions.

Tony Scholes, chief executive of Stoke City, said: “Our intention was to put Season Cards back on sale at Early Bird prices but we came to the conclusion that wouldn’t be fair as limited capacity would not allow for all supporters to attend every game.

“We are going to be operating with a vastly reduced capacity for some time to come and it’s inevitable that the demand for Season Cards would have far exceeded the number of people who will be allowed to attend games.”

Under assumed social distancing rules, the 30,000-capacity stadium will welcome between 6,000 and 9,000 supporters who will be allowed to sit in groups of no more than six from at most two households.

Fans will be able to go to half the games after choosing from a red list of 11 games or a white list of 11 games.

In partnership with the EFL and Sky, Stoke are also to make available a streaming pass for the 11 home games not covered by the 11-game season cards – as well as mid-week away league matches – for £50.

There will be no away fans attending games at the bet365 Stadium initially and possibly for the entire season.

A sales cap could be implemented if the club is restricted to a capacity at the 6,000 mark, however, if guidance allows the club to operate at the higher end of the range, there may be a chance for additional match-to-match ticket sales where 11 Game Season Card holders will have purchasing priority benefits.

Angela Smith, chairwoman of the Stoke Fans Council supporters association, said, according to the Stoke Sentinel: “There are people who have worked so hard to make certain that this is the best it can be. I couldn’t put a number on how many different scenarios are possible. Just as we thought we’d got it sussed we’d think of something else, rip things up and start again.

“I’m honestly really pleased with what we’ve achieved. The club asked us to be involved and I don’t think you’ll have a club anywhere else where supporter representatives have had more impact. The club have listened to us, engaged with us and everything we’ve asked, we’ve got.”