Leeds United play-off ticket decision comes under fire as club highlights EFL finance rule

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Leeds United's break from play-off ticket pricing tradition has come under fire from unhappy Elland Road season ticket holders.

The Whites confirmed their pricing within an hour of a third-placed Championship finish being confirmed on Saturday, as a loss to Southampton and Ipswich Town's win over Huddersfield Town extended Leeds' season. But the club's announcement informed fans that the play-off semi-final home leg against Norwich City has been deemed a Category A game, with the highest tier of ticket prices. Adult fans in the North and South Stands will pay £41 but others in the West Stand and a number of other areas of the ground, will be charged £47.

With Leeds and Norwich coming to a reciprocal deal for away tickets, which will be charged at £36 for both Elland Road and Carrow Road, some Leeds fans will be paying more than the visiting supporters to sit in the West Stand for the semi-final second leg on Thursday May 16.

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Leeds' decision to make this a Category A fixture breaks with previous tradition. The play-off semi-final against Derby County in 2019 was made a Category B game, which made adult tickets £26. In 2010 Leeds confirmed that if they finished the season outside of the top two then the play-off semi-final would be a Category B fixture, with the most expensive ticket priced at £30. And in 2008 when Leeds finished fifth in League One, securing a play-off semi-final against Carlisle United, the club expressed its dismay that an application to the Football League to charge Category C prices for the game was rejected by other clubs potentially involved in the play-offs. A ticket in the West Stand for that game cost £28.

The YEP has been contacted by a number of season ticket holders who feel the pricing for the game is unreasonable. Leeds United Supporters Trust say the issue simply highlights what they believe is a general problem with ticket prices at Elland Road.

"The club has said that they're charging in line with what they charge for any game," Trust chairman Josh Cawthorne told the YEP. "And I think that to us, what this does is, is really highlight the fact that the pricing for tickets in general is extortionate. I think it also calls into question the use of Category A and Category B pricing. We would have liked to have seen them charge Category B pricing. The Derby game was Category B as a bit of a gesture of goodwill to the fans and it would have been nice to do that again, especially considering the fact that we've got away fans travelling all the way to Norwich plus potentially London. Transport and accommodation for one or two games is a lot. So I think it would have been nice if they could have done that because this is unexpected revenue for the club, at the end of the day."

The YEP put the concerns to the club, whose position is that season ticket holders - who benefit from a significant discount for home league games - have been given the right to guarantee their seat for a game that is outside the regular 46-game campaign. To secure their seat they will be paying prices that club members have paid all season to go to league games. The club also consider the importance of the game to justify Category A pricing, due to the high level of demand for tickets. Leeds have also highlighted the fact that gate receipts for the play-off games will be split, not just between Leeds and their visitors Norwich but between all four teams involved.

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EFL rules state that after a three per cent levy has been paid from the semi-final net gate receipts, the balance is to be divided with 50 per cent going into the EFL's pool account - into which all of the league's income is paid - and 50 per cent aggregated and shared equally among the four clubs taking part in the play-offs.

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