Free season-tickets for Villarreal fans on dole

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MADRID - Villarreal will offer unemployed season-ticket holders free passes in 2009-10 to help fans feeling the effects of the global economic crisis, president Fernando Roig said on Tuesday.

"Season-ticket holders who are on the dole will be allowed in free next year," Roig told a news conference.

"The idea is to think of the club's wider social base and those who have been unlucky to lose their jobs so they can continue to watch football in the Madrigal."

Roig added the club's board, coaching staff, players and sponsors would combine to set up a fund to help subsidise the plan, with the precise details agreed in the next few weeks.

Striker Joseba Llorente gave his backing to the scheme.

"We are keen to get involved because it seems like a good idea considering the times we are in," he said.

"There are many people without work and it's a shame if they don't come to the stadium because of this."

Villarreal are fourth in the Primera Liga and face Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the Champions League next month.