Leeds United: Bates defends season ticket prices

Leeds United chairman Ken Bates has defended large increases to season ticket prices at Elland Road as the Leeds United Supporters Club denounced the rises as "unjustified".

Renewal prices for the 2011-12 campaign were announced by Leeds over the weekend, showing jumps of up to 13 per cent in certain areas of the stadium.

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Tickets for existing adult holders in Elland Road's North Stand have increased from 450 to 516 and prices for early renewals peak at 633 for adults in the East Stand, an area where renewed tickets for this season cost 560.

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Leeds will begin accepting applications tomorrow, with the deadline for early renewals set for February 25. Late renewals will be accepted between March 5 and March 18, with prices rising further for that fortnight.

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Bates said the increase in VAT and the rising cost of running the Championship club was behind the increases, revealed on New Year's Day.

He also said that the income generated by season ticket holders would give United a stronger chance of building a squad good enough to win promotion to the Premier League.

Bates said: "There's inflation and there's a 2.5 per cent increase in VAT but it's actually an increase of five per cent.

"When the government previously reduced VAT, we reduced our matchday prices by 1. We couldn't send every season ticket holder a cheque so when we calculated this season's prices, we deducted the VAT refund that we couldn't give them before. That cost the club about 50,000.

"Our costs have gone up. There's a three per cent increase on our rent, our rates won't go up by too much but all our other costs continue to rise."

Leeds do not intend to announce prices for new season ticket applicants until the end of the season.

A spokesman for the Leeds United Supporters Club said: "It's hard to see how these rises are justified. Season tickets at Elland Road are expensive enough.

"We don't know what we'll be getting for these prices because there's no guarantee that the club will be in the Premier League next season."

Paul Heckingbottom.

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