Osasuna defender Alejandro Arribas has criticised the raising of ticket prices for Saturday’s La Liga game against Real Madrid, suggesting the chances of an upset have been lessened by the club's attempt to cash in on the high-profile fixture.
• Rigg: Watch out Europe
The Pamplona outfit have followed what is now a regular policy among smaller La Liga sides to hike prices when Madrid or Barcelona come to town -- with the cheapest seats available to non-season-ticket holders for Saturday’s game set at 115 euros.
Other Spanish clubs including Elche, Getafe and even Valencia have used the attraction of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to try and raise much-needed cash from Madrid or Barca fans, or even those who live nearby but rarely watch their local team play.
This policy appears to have backfired on Osasuna, however, as AS reported that less than 500 tickets had been sold by Thursday evening, and predicted an attendance of around 15,000 in a ground which holds 19,000.
This reduced attendance is expected to lead to a more muted atmosphere inside the Estadio El Sadar, which in recent seasons has rocked as Barcelona were beaten 3-2 in February 2012 and Madrid seen off 1-0 in January 2011.
Osasuna’s Madrid-born defender Arribas said in AS that he would prefer to be playing in front of a packed house this weekend.
“I also have to buy some tickets at this price and for me it is exaggerated,” Arribas said. “I would set the price cheaper so that the ground is full and everyone cheers us on.”
The club’s position, however, is that members who bought season tickets early last summer could have had access to all 19 home games for 275 euros for adults and 60 euros for children.
Earlier this week, Rojillos club president Miguel Archanco defended the policy of upping prices twice a season when talking to El Diario de Navarra.
“Do not talk about a failure of the board if few tickets are sold, because we want to show that what people say on the street, that the abonos [tickets] are expensive and there are no tickets for children, is not true,” Archanco said.
“The price of abonos has fallen and special season tickets for families and youngsters were created. And we still did not increase our number of socios. It is not a question of the abonos being expensive, but that here in Navarre we believe there are 600,000 Osasuna fans but just 12,000 socios.
“There are people who complain to me that they cannot bring their son to see Real Madrid. But for 60 euros they could have made it so their son could see Real Madrid, Barca and all the games.”