Ticket prices slashed to help fans feeling pinch

LONDON - English clubs are seeking to help fans feeling the pinch from the global recession by cutting 2009-10 season ticket prices with Newcastle United on Tuesday becoming the latest Premier League club to slash them.

With the economy in the grip of the worst downturn in decades, top-flight clubs like Sunderland, Manchester City and Portsmouth have responded with price cuts of up to 16 percent.

"At a time when money is tight for supporters, football clubs have to recognise the sacrifices people make to continue following their team and offer any assistance they can in making games affordable to watch," Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias told the club's website.

Newcastle said they were reducing season ticket prices by an average nine percent, putting them at 2007/08 levels. A ticket costing 543 pounds ($790) this season would be 494 next time.

This month Manchester City, the world's richest club, announced cuts amounting to seven percent on average while Portsmouth dropped some of their prices by 16 percent.

Sunderland have also reduced season ticket prices and, like others, are giving fans more time to pay the bill.

The cuts have come just weeks after a report by business advisory firm Deloitte showed Premier League clubs had spent a record 160 million pounds in the January transfer window.