Leicester’s FA Cup tickets call was not down to Norwich City
Ticket allocations for away supporters at Carrow Road cup ties may be reviewed after Norwich City came under fire from angry Leicester City fans.
Under FA rules, Leicester should have received 15 per cent of seats for the fifth round match on Saturday week, which would have given them about 4,000 tickets.
Instead, their allocation is just 2,400 seats, well below 10 per cent of the ground capacity of just over 27,000.
The decision, made by Norfolk County Council's Safety Advisory Group and confirmed by the FA, was taken on police advice.
But Leicester have made plain their disappointment at the reduced allocation and one fans' spokesman protested: 'We feel slighted by this.'
The Canaries declined to make any comment on the ticket decision, but a spokesman for the Safety Advisory Group said: 'Following representations from the football club and advice from Norfolk Constabulary, the Safety Advisory Group supported the Constabulary's view that, on this occasion, the visiting supporters' allocation should not be increased to 4,000.
'The Football Association took the final decision based on advice it received from the various parties involved.'
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However, it said that ticket arrangements for future cup ties at Norwich should be looked at, the spokesman adding: 'The Safety Advisory Group supports Norfolk Constabulary's suggestion that a review be carried out with the aim of enabling future cup ties to go ahead safely with 15 per cent of away fans present.'
The Canaries' Customer Charter for 2011-12 supports the right of away fans to attend games.
But it adds: 'The club will allocate tickets for matches at Carrow Road in accordance with published ticketing regulations for the applicable competition unless it receives contrary instructions or advice from the Police or Norfolk County Council Safety Advisory Group.'
The Safety Advisory Group is made up of representatives of Norfolk County Council, who chair it, Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk County Council Fire and Rescue Service, the East of England Ambulance Service and Norwich City Council building control. Norwich City FC also attend meetings.
The last big visiting contingent at an FA Cup game at Carrow Road was in 2006, when West Ham took their full allocation of 3,400 seats for a third round tie.
A Leicester City spokesman said: 'Norwich advised us of their admission prices on Friday evening but, disappointingly, we received notification on Saturday that only 2,400 tickets will be allocated.
'Upon further consultation with the Football Association, it has been confirmed that, despite the exemplary record of our travelling support in recent seasons, the decision was taken on ground safety by Norwich's Safety Advisory Group.'
Leicester fans have contacted the Evening News to protest at their allocation, and Lance Tomlyn, of Leicester City's Independent Supporters' Association, urged the club to make fresh representations to Norwich.
'This is their chance for club to do something for the fans,' said Tomlyn. 'I want to see them get right behind this one.'
He added: 'We took 8,000 fans to Forest, who are our bitter local rivals and where if there was likely to be any trouble, it would have been there, but it wasn't. There is no credible evidence to say we constitute a risk and we feel slighted by this.'
Manchester United complained to the FA Cup last month after their allocation for the third round tie at Manchester City was cut from 7,100 to 5,500 on safety grounds.
Last season's two Championship fixtures between the Canaries and the Foxes passed off peacefully – Paul Lambert's team won both matches – but there was serious trouble after the game at Leicester in 2008, with nine Norwich supporters and two Leicester fans jailed after a city centre rampage.
Concern over segregation may also have been a factor in the decision. A 4,000 allocation for Leicester would have taken up half the Jarrold Stand, also forcing the Canaries to move some of their 22,000 season ticket-holders from their usual seats.
Home tickets for the Leicester tie are on sale to season ticket-holders, super members and members until close of business tonight, with any remaining tickets on general sale from 9am tomorrow.
At Leicester, tickets went on sale yesterday to season ticket-holders. Any left will be available to members before Saturday's match against Cardiff.