Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Bath City offer discount to Polish people, EHRC say this is OK.

Bath City Football Club have come up with a novel yet controversial scheme to try and boost support at their matches.

The Blue Square Premier club have offered the city's Polish community an 80 per cent discount to attend this weekend's clash against Grimsby Town.

On production of a Polish ID card, fans can watch the game for as little as £2.50, instead of the usual £13 to stand on the terraces and £14 for a seat.

The club have cleared the move with the Equality and Human Rights Commission but not everyone is happy with the decision.

Dr David Green, director of social think-tank Civitas, said: "It's going to upset people. It’s obviously discriminatory on grounds of nationality.

"I can't understand why this is in the interests of the football club. Imagine M&S wanting to make a pitch for the Polish market (along the lines of) if you could prove that you were Polish you would get a 10 per cent discount."

Meanwhile, some Bath City fans voiced their displeasure at the decision on a club fan forum.

"The people who have loyally supported City through the lean years, and the regulars who have come back, are the ones who should be rewarded, not one small community, the majority of whom will not return in the future," wrote one fan.

"This is another kick in the teeth for City's full-paying English supporters and I don't want to stand next to anybody who's bought a ticket cheaper than mine because they are Polish," wrote another.

However, acclaimed film director and Bath City supporter Ken Loach said he welcomed the decision.

"It is a good idea - I hope they will chant in Polish. There is a fantastic opportunity on the playing side and we just want to boost the attendance," he said.

Bath City have launched the scheme as part of 'Campaign 3,000' which the club have set up to try and attract their first 3,000-plus crowd at a regular league match since 1978.

The club, who lie 14th in the table, have been averaging crowds of around 1,300 so far this season.

Ned Vaught, the club’s communications and enterprise manager, said the move was anything but discriminatory.

"The EHRC said the Polish discount was allowed because it is a one-off and for a 'laudable' cause. The aim is to get Polish people to integrate," he said.

Bath City Communications and Enterprise manager Ned Vaught defended the project, saying other groups, such as students, had also been targeted. He said: 'One of the ideas that had been floating around for a while was to try and involve Bath's Polish community in the club.

'I have met a prominent member of the Polish community and he was enthusiastic about the idea because the community suffers from a lack of integration.


I wonder if the EHRC would allow it if the club only offered a discount to indigenous fans.

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