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Taking on the Arabs, the full story


TannochsideBear

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On Sunday 1 November 2009, the SPL match between Dundee United and Rangers was abandoned at half time due to the terrible weather and conditions which were becoming unplayable in the view of the referee, supported by both managers and players.

Dundee United made an announcement that the game was being abandoned, and for fans to retain their ticket stubs.

The game, in which Rangers were leading 1-0 was deleted from the records as having not happened at all, it is not included in the league tables, it is essentially as if it never started at all.

Dundee United's ground regulations include the following, crucial, piece of information regarding matches of this nature.

“Where a match is abandoned during an all ticket match, the retained portion of that ticket, the value of which will subsequently be determined by the Club, will be valid to exchange or part exchange (if the value is subsequently determined to be less than the full ticket price to be charged for the re-arranged fixture) for a ticket at the re-arranged fixture.

Any supporter who cannot attend the re-arranged fixture will be entitled to a refund of the subsequently determined value of the ticket voucher or ticket provided that an application for a refund is received by the Club within 14 days of the date of the re-arranged fixture being announced”

On Wednesday 4 November, the SPL announced that the match was to be replayed on Tuesday 15 December.

12 days later, on Monday 16 November, Dundee United announced that the value of the ticket stubs was to be zero, and that all supporters, regardless of whether they attended the first match or not, were going to be able to purchase a match ticket for £12.

Using their own rules, our RSC wrote to Dundee United on Tuesday 17 November to advise them that we would be seeking proper compensation for the match tickets that were supposed to be worth something, but that Dundee United have stated are worth nothing. As this was 13 days after the fixture was announced, we were within our rights to apply for a refund.

On Tuesday 17 November, the copy of the ground regulations previously available on Dundee United's website, mysteriously disappeared. Thankfully we had printed off a copy for our records.

On Friday 20 November, having received no reply from Dundee United to our enquiry, we wrote to them again seeking an answer to our letter. This time we received a reply the same day informing us that our enquiry had been passed on "to the relevant parties for comment".

We had, since the announcement made by Dundee United on Monday 16 November, been in contact with Glasgow Trading Standards office, who looked at our complaint that we had bought tickets to a football match, had not got what we had paid for, and now our tickets were being invalidated. Trading Standards were very supportive of our view and have continued to be most helpful to us throughout.

On Tuesday 1 December we received a full reply from Dundee United to our enquiry. Their defence of their decision was to state that the ticket is only for admittance to the ground and not to see the match. It seems to be their logic that it is only a coincidence that a match just so happens to be taking place when fans buy tickets to enter the ground. They go on to state that they have allowed us the opportunity to purchase replacement tickets without the inconvenience of having to send in the old ticket stubs at a discounted price of £12.

On Thursday 3 December I received a very informative email from the guy at Glasgow Trading Standards who has been helping us, prior to our regular monthly club meeting that night. He explained that complaints to Trading Standards normally have 2 elements to them, a civil and a criminal. The civil is surrounding the contract between the consumer and trader and the criminal if the trader has breached any criminal law. In the civil matter, Trading Standards have no power to enforce a solution, they can only offer advice. In a criminal matter, if any breaches of law have occured from the trader, then Trading Standards will report the matter to the Procurator Fiscal who will decide whether any prosecution will be taken. On putting forward all the available information to our members, we decided it was right to proceed with a civil case in the small claims court if we continued to fail to find a solution with Dundee United, using club funds to finance the claim.

On Monday 7 December, we wrote to Dundee United to reject their reply of 1 December, and asking them to look again at the matter, whilst informing them that should we be unable to reach an agreeable settlement, we would be left with no other option but to raise a small claims court action against them.

On Thursday 10 December, Dundee United announced that they would be giving any profits made from the replayed match to the United for Kids charity. It is important to point out that this charity pays for underpriviledged kids to get season tickets at Dundee United, and while that is of course a worthy gesture and United match any donations £1 for £1, it does mean that the money will find its way back to the club eventually. Charity begins at home and all that.

Today, Friday 11 December has seen us send the last chance email to Dundee United before going to court next week. At the time of writing I have had no response. Also today has seen some press reporting of the story, with articles in both the Record and Sun's sport pages noting what we are trying to do.

I know from being contacted personally, through others at our club, and through Trading Standards, that other supporters clubs are also pursuing this course of action, and we would call for all Rangers supporters who attended the first game to watch this space and be ready to put in similar actions if we are successful. We will of course be helping our fellow bears with instructions as to how to go about things if we manage to get a successful outcome to this for our supporters club.

It is our opinion that this game should be treated exactly the same way as a game that was postponed just before kick-off. That goes to say that the costs are still there for the home club, as programmes have been published, police and stewards paid for, catering supplied, and tickets sold. As the game is not on the record books of either side, or the SPL whose tournament the game was played under, or the SFA as governing body of Scottish football, it stands to reason that the ticketing arrangements should be the same as a postponed match, in that the original tickets are valid for the replayed fixture. An appeal for donations to help cover policing and stewarding costs may have attracted a more sympathetic response from fans attending the match.

It would also have prevented this from turning into a PR disaster for Dundee United, with many of their own fans just as angry as Rangers fans on this issue. Whilst we only visit Tannadice once or twice a year, their own loyal fans may hit them harder for longer.

It is worth pointing out that the SPL rulebook states that ground regulations regarding ticketing are entirely down to the SPL member clubs. That quite simply is a cop out and not good enough, and it is heartening to know that Trading Standards are advising the SPL to change these rules at their next AGM. So even if we go to court and lose, the real winners could be Scottish football fans as rules surrounding this issue are almost certain to come into force for next season to prevent a repeat performance of this sad state of affairs.

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I wish you and any others well in your civil action against the robbing bastards at dundee united.

Wasn't at the first game but will not set foot in that shitehole of a ground again whilst Thompson is in charge of that club.

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I'd like to pass on my good wishes on behalf of Gersnet to the Nithsdale in their efforts against the tangerine bullies from Dundee.

Win or loss, their pro-active work in this case is a great example of how bears (and football fans generally) can work together and achieve results in the most difficult of circumstances.

More power to their elbow!

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“Where a match is abandoned during an all ticket match, the retained portion of that ticket, the value of which will subsequently be determined by the Club, will be valid to exchange or part exchange (if the value is subsequently determined to be less than the full ticket price to be charged for the re-arranged fixture) for a ticket at the re-arranged fixture.

Any supporter who cannot attend the re-arranged fixture will be entitled to a refund of the subsequently determined value of the ticket voucher or ticket provided that an application for a refund is received by the Club within 14 days of the date of the re-arranged fixture being announced”

If i understand that right, those rules leave the club open to declare the value of the stubs/ticket voucher, as they seem to have done, as zero. They've exploited a loophole they conveniently left open for themselves, but by the letter of the law they've not contravened their own rules.

Still, wish you the best of luck in either getting your money back or at least exposing the flaws in the rulebook that allowed this fuss to happen.

ps. the "charity" story is a real scoop and makes united look very foolish.

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“Where a match is abandoned during an all ticket match, the retained portion of that ticket, the value of which will subsequently be determined by the Club, will be valid to exchange or part exchange (if the value is subsequently determined to be less than the full ticket price to be charged for the re-arranged fixture) for a ticket at the re-arranged fixture.

Any supporter who cannot attend the re-arranged fixture will be entitled to a refund of the subsequently determined value of the ticket voucher or ticket provided that an application for a refund is received by the Club within 14 days of the date of the re-arranged fixture being announced”

If i understand that right, those rules leave the club open to declare the value of the stubs/ticket voucher, as they seem to have done, as zero. They've exploited a loophole they conveniently left open for themselves, but by the letter of the law they've not contravened their own rules.

Still, wish you the best of luck in either getting your money back or at least exposing the flaws in the rulebook that allowed this fuss to happen.

ps. the "charity" story is a real scoop and makes united look very foolish.

thats for folk not able to attend the rearranged match not for guys who can

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“Where a match is abandoned during an all ticket match, the retained portion of that ticket, the value of which will subsequently be determined by the Club, will be valid to exchange or part exchange (if the value is subsequently determined to be less than the full ticket price to be charged for the re-arranged fixture) for a ticket at the re-arranged fixture.

Any supporter who cannot attend the re-arranged fixture will be entitled to a refund of the subsequently determined value of the ticket voucher or ticket provided that an application for a refund is received by the Club within 14 days of the date of the re-arranged fixture being announced”

If i understand that right, those rules leave the club open to declare the value of the stubs/ticket voucher, as they seem to have done, as zero. They've exploited a loophole they conveniently left open for themselves, but by the letter of the law they've not contravened their own rules.

Still, wish you the best of luck in either getting your money back or at least exposing the flaws in the rulebook that allowed this fuss to happen.

ps. the "charity" story is a real scoop and makes united look very foolish.

You are quite correct with your assumption.

However, in order for their value of zero to stand up legally, it has to be seen to be a fair value of the ticket held.

Our opinion is that declaring a £24 ticket worth zero, when the match for which it was eligible was never concluded, is clearly unfair and therefore against both the spirit and application of the ground regulations.

Trading Standards, with their vast experience of such matters, were outraged at the decision to declare the value at zero, and have told us in no uncertain terms that what United done was not fair to us as consumers, and they have also told United that.

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“Where a match is abandoned during an all ticket match, the retained portion of that ticket, the value of which will subsequently be determined by the Club, will be valid to exchange or part exchange (if the value is subsequently determined to be less than the full ticket price to be charged for the re-arranged fixture) for a ticket at the re-arranged fixture.

Any supporter who cannot attend the re-arranged fixture will be entitled to a refund of the subsequently determined value of the ticket voucher or ticket provided that an application for a refund is received by the Club within 14 days of the date of the re-arranged fixture being announced”

If i understand that right, those rules leave the club open to declare the value of the stubs/ticket voucher, as they seem to have done, as zero. They've exploited a loophole they conveniently left open for themselves, but by the letter of the law they've not contravened their own rules.

Still, wish you the best of luck in either getting your money back or at least exposing the flaws in the rulebook that allowed this fuss to happen.

ps. the "charity" story is a real scoop and makes united look very foolish.

You are quite correct with your assumption.

However, in order for their value of zero to stand up legally, it has to be seen to be a fair value of the ticket held.

Our opinion is that declaring a £24 ticket worth zero, when the match for which it was eligible was never concluded, is clearly unfair and therefore against both the spirit and application of the ground regulations.

Trading Standards, with their vast experience of such matters, were outraged at the decision to declare the value at zero, and have told us in no uncertain terms that what United done was not fair to us as consumers, and they have also told United that.

The rules seem to say that:

"if the value [of the stub = 0] is subsequently determined to be less than the full ticket price to be charged for the re-arranged fixture [zero is obviously less than £12]" then "the retained portion of that ticket...will be valid to exchange or part exchange... for a ticket at the re-arranged fixture"

but the stubs HAVENT been valid for exchange or part exchange, so they fucked up there havent they?

<cr>

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The rules seem to say that:

"if the value [of the stub] is subsequently determined to be less than the full ticket price to be charged for the re-arranged fixture [zero is obviously less than £12]" then "the retained portion of that ticket...will be valid to exchange or part exchange... for a ticket at the re-arranged fixture"

but the stubs HAVENT been valid for exchange or part exchange, so they fucked up there havent they?

<cr>

You are correct.

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