Arsenal fans have raised £34,000 for a local charity by donating to them instead of paying to watch Sunday’s pay-per-view game against Leicester City.
The match on Sky Sports Box Office was, like other PPV Premier League matches this season, priced at £14.95 and the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust had urged supporters to boycott it in protest.
Instead, they had urged fans to donate to the Islington Giving charity instead, who work closely with local organisations to address poverty and inequality in the area.
Gunners fans responded to that and, as of Monday morning, had raised £34,000 for the charity and there was hope the amount could still rise.
The AST tweeted: “Thanks to everyone that supported. 2250 fans have collectively donated £34k! The figure is still creeping up! You can still support here.
“Hundreds of thousands have been raised across the country - hopefully this will see a review of the current pricing model.”
Arsenal fans are not the only ones to boycott PPV matches and instead donate to charities. Newcastle supporters donated £20,000 to a food bank earlier this month instead of paying £14.95 to watch their 4-1 defeat to Manchester United on Sky Sports, while supporters from United, Aston Villa, Burnley, Leeds and Tottenham have also been raising money for charity.
The AST has been campaigning heavily against the introduction of PPV matches and have been in direct contact with Arsenal’s chief executive and Sky Sport’s managing director to reiterate the views of our members and other Gunners fans.
In a statement last week the AST said: “Arsenal have made no provision for season ticket holders, who have hundreds of pounds sitting with Arsenal as an ‘initial payment’, to be given free access to these matches.
“Similarly, Silver Members who have paid £59 for membership that gives access to tickets are being asked to pay again.”
The AST have run a poll on Twitter and, of the 5,550 responses received, just six per cent said they would pay £14.95 to watch a game. 19% said they would not pay and not watch, 69% would watch an illegal stream and six per cent would watch with friends or in a pub.
The AST have applauded the efforts of other fan groups in boycotting the games and making a charitable donation.