City confirm talks with supporter groups following negative reaction to membership schemes

More than 5,000 Norwich City fans travelled to Wigan towards the end of last season Picture: Paul Ch

More than 5,000 Norwich City fans travelled to Wigan towards the end of last season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City have announced plans to begin talks with supporter groups about the club's controversial new ticket membership system – on the same day the changes have been criticised by the Football Supporters' Association (FSA).

Today's criticism from the FSA follows on from a collective statement from Canaries supporter groups calling on the club to rethink their new tiered membership scheme which charges £50 or £35 for priority access to away tickets, and the same again for home memberships.

Along Come Norwich, Barclay End Norwich, Canaries Trust, Forces2Canaries and Proud Canaries teamed up to comment on the decision to end the previous loyalty points scheme - with home season ticket holders losing their away benefits as part of that - and called on club bosses to "urgently rethink" the changes.

A statement released at 5pm this afternoon said: "Norwich City Football Club has acknowledged the joint letter from supporter groups surrounding the new membership scheme.

"The club will communicate with supporters following a meeting with fan group representatives later next week to discuss the matters raised."

MORE: Norwich City fan groups urge club to rethink 'damaging' membership scheme

The FSA statement points to Carrow Road being one of the most expensive stadiums to watch football in the country already, with away fans having to pay in excess of £40 fro some games in recent seasons.

That all changes after promotion to the Premier League however, where a hard-earned £30 cap for away fans at all grounds began in 2016. While City have matched that for casual home tickets, of which there will usually be around 1,500, priority access only comes with a home membership.

FSA vice-chair, Tom Greatrex, said: "Unfortunately this away scheme threatens to overshadow the work Norwich City have done in capping match-day ticket prices for home fans at Carrow Road.

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"The FSA is wary of anything that increases the costs of tickets for supporters and we'll be keeping an eye on away membership schemes such as this - if more clubs in the Premier League follow suit it could be a serious threat to the £30 cap.

"We'd urge Norwich City to have another look at this and commit to serious dialogue with their supporters on the issue."

The FSA - which took on fresh impetus in November when the Football Supporters' Federation was amalgamated with another well established group, Supporters Direct - illustrates the point by saying that those members who attend five away games will be paying the equivalent of £40.

MORE: Home and away - Norwich City fans' 2019-20 Premier League membership scheme explained

The organisation also question the Canaries' description of a loyalty points scheme as "antiquated" and point out that Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Watford, West Ham and Brighton all run loyalty points schemes, with only Villa charging a fee for access to away tickets.

City described the new system as "fair and simple" ahead of an anticipated increase in demand, while also providing a priority window for 2018-19 away season ticket holders or those who attended 10 or more away games last season, as well as a £10 discount for previous members.

- You can watch the explanation of the new system from City's chief operating officer Ben Kensell above, speaking last week when details were announced