Vincent Kompany: Ticket prices threaten Premier League success
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has warned that pricing out loyal supporters could ultimately lead to the Premier League's demise.
The spiralling cost of watching football has been under scrutiny in recent weeks, with Liverpool fans last month staging a mass walk-out during a match in protest at plans to charge £77 for some tickets.
British Prime Minister David Cameron recently urged clubs to adopt fairer prices following a request by shadow sports minister Clive Efford, saying: "At a time when there is more money flowing into the Premier League than ever before, it should not be forgotten that this success is built upon the hard work and the money of millions of loyal supporters."
Kompany, a Master of Business Administration student, has now described the Premier League as "the most beautiful and most successful football league in the world" but said there are problems ahead if fans are not given better treatment.
"If you just look at the numbers, today everything is going well," he told De Tijd. "The turnover increases every year, the budgets of the clubs rise with each year, more supporters worldwide watch English professional football.
"Is that capitalism at its best? You would think so, but it's not the case. Look at the protests against the clubs that raise their ticket prices every year. There's a latent cynicism that is assuming ever greater proportions.
"If nothing happens [to change the situation], that could one day lead to the whole system of the Premier League crashing."
He added: "We're at a tipping point. Look at what happened recently in Liverpool, where fans protested against the increase in ticket prices by leaving the stadium. That illustrated that a system that doesn't create value for all of his stakeholders could implode.
"You can't wring the fans and not expect it to turn out negatively."
He also cited the example of rock-bottom Aston Villa, where fans walked out in protest at owner Randy Lerner in the 74th minute of this month's 3-0 defeat to Everton. Villa were founded in 1874.
The Belgium international continued: "Eventually, you push out the diehard fans.
"You'll get stadiums filled with businessmen and tourists who leave the stadium 10 minutes the end to avoid traffic games. You lose atmosphere.
"In time, that becomes a threat to the popularity and therefore also the revenue stream for English football.
"People are only willing to pay so much for Premier League football because it's not just the football that's great but the whole atmosphere around it.
"The Premier League has a huge advantage over other leagues, including financially. Well, I say: 'Give up a part of that advantage for the fans.'
"That's shared value. Let the fans feel the benefit and in the long-term English football will only get better."