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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Martinez's woe at wretched Everton

Everton
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Arsenal ticket prices rise

Arsenal have confirmed they are set to increase ticket prices by a total of 6.5% from the start of the 2011-12 campaign.

The Gunners, who have not won a trophy since 2005, maintain they have given careful consideration to the rise, which is in line with inflation and the 2.5% increase in VAT.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has pledged to "undertake an entire review of the approach to ticketing" at Emirates Stadium. Gazidis accepts the increase was a difficult call to make having frozen them for some time.

"We thought about this increase, the first in three seasons, very carefully. We fully understand fans are facing rising costs in many areas of their lives and their club faces the same issues," he said.

"We have acted responsibly over the years to balance the impact of even inflationary increases on our fans with the rightful demand that we compete at the highest level and we will continue to do so."

The North London club also announced an additional 500 seats are to be made available for their 'Red Members' at Premier League games, up from the current figure of 1,500.

Gazidis added: "We welcome suggestions from our fans to build into our thinking. Among others the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association has presented a number of good ideas to us.

"Some of these ideas are already built into our thinking for next season. Others may take a little longer to develop, but we are committed to responding positively to what has been proposed."

The Arsenal Supporters Trust recently wrote to the board signalling their objection to the proposals and, in the wake of the latest announcements, have stressed their fears that fans will be priced out.

A statement from AST read: "The AST is very disappointed at this increase. The Arsenal board are clearly out of touch with today's economic climate and have taken a decision which will price loyal supporters out of the Emirates.

"The AST does welcome Ivan Gazidis' acknowledgement to us that prices are too high, and that he will work with us over the next year on a thorough review of all ticketing strategies and prices at Emirates Stadium."

The announcement coincides with the offer period from American tycoon Stan Kroenke, who must this week send out formal documents for his proposed takeover having taken his holding up to 63% after buying stakes from the late Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

However, the deal is by no means done, with major shareholder Alisher Usmanov indicating he may hold onto his 27%, while AST have urged all minority shareholders not to sell as they believe the club should not be owned by any single individual.

AST added: "It is unfortunate that this increase comes at the same time as the takeover by Stan Kroenke. Arsenal fans are now looking for urgent clarification from Stan Kroenke that all of the revenue raised from this increase is for investment in the playing squad.

"Supporters would be appalled if they were being asked to pay for a dividend or towards the cost of the takeover."

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