Carlisle United have consistently stated that, whatever the national situation, we would continue to do what we feel is the ‘right thing’ by our fans and for the club.
Having appeared to be in a position to start the process of season ticket sales, with an expected return for fans in October, we started to finalise payments for 20/21 two weeks ago as we all looked forward to a step towards our new ‘normal.’
Chief executive Nigel Clibbens has provided a further season ticket update this afternoon:
“Going right back to June, I said:
“However, we feel that to take cash from supporters now - in the current circumstances, when we don’t know when or if we can let fans in to watch games - is simply not right. Every club is different.”
“We left the decision to sell them until the very last minute, indeed starting from game two [Barrow], in the knowledge of a test pilot programme being in place and a timetable for the return of fans from 3 October, following the Prime Minister’s announcement in July.
“We adopted a two-stage approach to selling, to delay fans paying for as long as possible and, again, to minimise the risk of fans paying for games they couldn’t attend.
“We set season ticket direct debits to start in October just before Barrow, to also avoid fans paying for games they would never attend. We then only commenced taking cash payments very recently and accelerated this as part of the pilot game - selling a Southend ticket and arranging season ticket payment at the same time, to avoid two calls or two visits to the ticket office.
“All the decisions and the timing has been aimed at treating our fans honestly and with respect, never designed to take advantage of their financial support.
“After the announcements on Monday we have been faced with a number of problems and choices, which we have been considering since then:
- Do we complete the process of converting season ticket reservations to tickets? Knowing there will be no fans at games for some time - but not how long will that be?
- What approach do we take to refunding season ticket cash already taken?
- How much do we refund? When? Is it a cash refund, credit or iFollow passes for home games, or an alternative?
- Do we offer any choice or just impose an answer?
- Do we take season ticket direct debits payments for games fans definitely can’t attend?
- Do we put the having cash in hand given the financial problems we face, ahead of fan interest?
“We have already been contacted by fans telling us that they we don’t want anything back at the moment! That is just astonishing support. And, again, we have already been contacted by fans telling us to activate the direct debit and take the payments regardless! Yet again that is astonishing support.
“At the same time, and not surprisingly, we have had a number of calls asking for full refunds. That is completely understandable as situations change for people as each day goes by.
“There is so much we don’t know, and I will not claim to have all the answers. I can assure fans things are under control and that we are considering everything carefully.
“Our overall approach has consistently been that the longer we can wait to make decisions which could have lasting adverse effects on the club, the better.
“However, in doing so, we have to balance the costs of waiting against the benefits of acting now. That is just not easy. The priority has to be to protect the club in the short-term, conserve our cash and take few risks which create bigger problems later.
“We must continue to take actions which mean we are well placed to recover. Throughout this we have moved quickly when we have needed to, cautiously where we could - without making things worse - and at all times sought to keep our options open and be honest.
“If necessary we have changed our minds quickly when it has been required that we do so. We will continue with this simple approach.
“I know fans will be very anxious and that they will want answers about what we will be doing in light of these most recent developments.
“Having explained the issues, we will cover that next.
“The first thing to say is that every penny of 20/21 season ticket cash paid by fans so far remains untouched, and unspent.
“We didn’t forecast to receive any cash or have fans in the ground at this point.
“But what next?
Fans with outstanding reservations
“We have continued this process and contacted fans with season ticket reservations to ask them what they want to do, giving them options.
“This is to simplify the administration of reservations and refunds, and iFollow alternatives, and for dealing with the return of fans in the future, with everyone at the same starting point.
“We now have two categories of season ticket holder, as follows:
Fans with a season ticket confirmed and who will be paying by direct debit, payment starting at some point in the future:
“This is the group of fans who have paid nothing so far, but have a season ticket place and a pending direct debit.
“We have a small number of direct debit payments already processed before the announcement, which we cannot stop from being processed between 1-4 October. We will automatically refund these payments, once they have been confirmed as having been received by the club.
“I repeat again that no other payments will be taken until fans can physically attend games.
“For people in this group, no further action is required by the club, or the individual, at present.
“These fans can pay to watch each game on iFollow [£10 per match pass - £8 of each home game comes directly to the club. £8 of the first 500 away match passes go to the host club, with £8 from every match pass above 500 away club subscribers coming to Carlisle United].
“When fans do return, we will recalculate the ticket cost for the remaining games and action the direct debit over the remaining months of the season.
Fans who have paid in full for 20/21:
“Those who have paid in full and have a season ticket place lose out as every home game passes without their attendance.
“It is the fans in this group who cause me the most concern and discomfort.
“We will offer these fans two simple options:
Option 1 – a free iFollow code for each home game* while they are locked-out
“Watch home league games free on iFollow, starting with the Barrow game on 3 October, until such time as the season ticket holders can return to the stadium to watch games live, in the place they have reserved.
“If you want to Option 1, there is nothing else for you to do* (however, we ask that you check that the email address held by the club is up to date, so that iFollow codes can be sent to out to you). We will obtain passes and issue them for the Barrow game.
*For households with more than one season ticket holder at the same address, we will issue one pass. If more passes are required, they need to be requested via the ticket office.
Option 2 – full cash refund
“Fans choosing option 2 will lose their reserved place for 20/21, and it will be offered on open sale when/if fans return. Reservations cannot be reactivated later. Processing refunds will take a little time (purely an admin workload issue), so please be patient.
“If you want to choose refund option 2, see below.
“If you do not choose option 2 we will automatically follow option 1 and provide you with a free iFollow code for each game in lieu of attending as a season ticket holder. No cash refund will be provided later.
Option 2b - switch to direct debit
Season ticket holders who have paid in full and who wish to take a full refund can switch to a direct debit, when they request their refund, which will include the reservation of the seat or place they had previously paid for.
Please make it clear, when you contact the club for a refund, that you wish to set up a direct debit.
These direct debits will not be activated until such time as we have fans back at Brunton Park.
“The financial update I gave earlier sets the very difficult scene. It’s clear the position is serious.
“We have chosen to deal with season tickets in this way because it is simple. It gives fans a straight choice and, due to the limited time before the Barrow game, will allow us to arrange iFollow passes for those who need them.
“Crucially fans who want their money back can take that option and get a refund, with no questions asked.
“As explained above the financial impact of the extended lockout cannot be overstated.
“We are in a situation never experienced before, but I hope you can understand our approach, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
“Thank you for your tremendous support.”
What to do now
Season ticket holders who have already made payment for their 20/21 seated or terraced place can claim a FULL refund from 10am on Friday 25 September.
+ If you have paid by cash or credit/debit card and want a full refund, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9am on Tuesday 29 September.
+ Put SEASON TICKET REFUND in the subject header of your email.
+ Include your full name, postcode and method of payment in your email.
You will then be refunded, in due course - refunds on card payments can take up to 10 days to clear through your bank once actioned.
If you are unable to email please call 0330 094 5930 (option 1) and speak to our ticket office staff.
Alternatively, visit the ticket office in-person, but please adhere to ALL Covid-19 safety advice and wear a face covering whilst in the building.
The ticket office is open from 10am to 5pm from Monday to Friday. Emails only outside of these opening times.
Please note – as per EFL instruction, iFollow passes will be issued to over-16s ONLY. Under-16s will not receive an iFollow pass.
PLEASE - IF YOU CAN - LET US KNOW YOUR DECISION BY EMAIL
(this is our preferred method)