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Arsenal question FA Cup allocation

ESPN staff
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Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has accused the Football Association of letting down loyal fans after his club and Hull were allocated just 25,000 seats each for the FA Cup Final at Wembley.

After Championship side Wigan returned some of their tickets for Saturday's semi-final clash, some 49,000 Arsenal supporters travelled to Wembley.

However, the FA have announced that 20,000 tickets for next month's final will be allocated to volunteers through the "football family" - which includes counties, leagues, local clubs and charities, the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs, another 134 full member clubs and all those clubs who reached the third round of the competition.

With the FA Cup final being part of the Club Wembley membership package, some 17,000 tickets will therefore also be allotted elsewhere.

Gazidis feels the system is unfair on both finalists and told Arsenal's official website: "We are disappointed many of our supporters and also those of Hull City will be unable to get tickets to the cup final.

"We fully understand this is the showpiece FA fixture to celebrate the game as a whole, but we also believe the loyal supporters of the competing teams deserve a greater chance to see their team play in what is one of the biggest matches of the season. The balance in the FA's allocation system is not right.

"Arsenal have approximately 45,000 season-ticket holders and 150,000 members, many of whom come to games. They all give us their loyal support throughout a season but with the FA Cup final allocation at 25,000 there will be many disappointed Arsenal fans, who have supported the club home and away for years, who will be unable to get a ticket to this historic match."

Arsenal plan to show the FA Cup final live at the Emirates Stadium - some 11 miles away from Wembley across North London - on giant screens for those supporters not able to attend in person.

"We want this to be a special day for Arsenal fans wherever they are, and the screening will be a great way for thousands of our supporters who are unable to get to Wembley to watch the match together at Emirates Stadium,'' Gazidis said.

The FA said allocations for the final have been around 25,000 per club ever since the new Wembley opened, and pointed out that ticket prices have remained the same for the last three years.

Apart from the 20,000 tickets that are distributed to volunteers and through the "football family," a further 17,000 are taken up by the Club Wembley membership package where holders are guaranteed seats for the major events at the stadium.

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