Arsenal shifted all 2,000 tickets available for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League group game in 20 minutes, although several fans reported issues with the ticketing website which prevented them from obtaining passes.
Tickets were sold on a first come, first served basis on Saturday morning for the match against Austrian Bundesliga club Rapid Vienna at the 60,704-capacity Emirates Stadium.
The priority sale to Gold and Premium Members who made their initial payment and registered for the ballot in September saw many fans kicked out of the queue, while others reported error messages when making it to the front.
One fan on Twitter said: “So gutted – I’ve waited 9 months to watch Arsenal at the Emirates – I get my chance to get tickets and the website crashes so I can’t get in.”
Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, tweeted: “Trying to buy Arsenal tickets this morning was an especially maddening experience. This is a club that specialises in undermining the good will of fans.”
The sale makes the London club the first Premier League team to welcome fans for a competitive game since March.
The club defended the decision to distribute tickets in a priority sale, stating: “The different restrictions and guidelines for UEFA matches, coupled with the short timeframe to provide and receive information from our fans, would have ultimately created too many complications and a risk of confusion and disappointment for supporters.”
The London club is one of ten Premier League football clubs that will be permitted to welcome up to 2,000 fans to their home matches from next week following the announcement of the new tiered lockdown system in England.
The remaining clubs will continue playing home games behind closed doors as they are based in Tier 3 areas, which is deemed ‘very high’ on the COVID-19 alert level.
Arsenal is now planning to run a ticketing ballot for the Premier League match against Burnley on December 13.