LONDON – Liverpool’s American owners apologized to fans and reversed planned rises in ticket prices on Wednesday, insisting they were not “greedy.”
The climb-down came after more than 10,000 Liverpool fans staged a walkout at Anfield during Saturday’s match against Sunderland. Their campaign reached the House of Commons on Wednesday when Prime Minister David Cameron intervened, calling the rapidly escalating cost of watching Premier League games a “problem.”
Within hours, Liverpool’s owners backed down and accepted the supporters’ concerns in an open letter to fans.
“It has been a tumultuous week,” said John Henry, Tom Werner, and Mike Gordon, who also own baseball’s Boston Red Sox.
“On behalf of everyone at Fenway Sports Group and Liverpool Football Club we would like to apologize for the distress caused by our ticket pricing plan for the 2016-17 season.”
The anger was set off by some ticket prices for next season being hiked to £77 ($112) in Anfield. As a result, Liverpool fans chose to leave their seats in the 77th minute of Saturday’s game. Liverpool was leading 2-0 at the time and conceded two late goals in front of thousands of empty seats.
“It wasn’t just Liverpool fans sticking up for themselves,” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who joined in the protest, wrote in his Daily Mail newspaper column. “It was Liverpool fans saying ‘Enough is enough’ for every supporter across the land.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Cameron was asked about the prospect of walkouts spreading to other stadiums.
“There is a problem here where some teams and some clubs put up prices very rapidly every year, even though so much of the money for football actually comes through the sponsorship and the equipment,” Cameron said.