(Updated March 24)
Now that English soccer is paused until (at least) April 30, what does that mean for the season and ticket refunds?
The short answer: Nobody knows!
My policy for tickets sold here at Groundhopper Guides is simple: I will pass along to my client 100% of any refund I receive from the broker and the club.
Beyond that, here’s what we can say.
Will the season be finished?
They very much want to finish the season, even if it means playing into July. Think not only of the finances (mainly TV revenue), but also the legal ramifications should trophies be handed out, clubs be promoted or relegated, etc. — all based on three-fourths of a season.
That is why, right now, games scheduled for March and April are listed as postponed, not canceled — because they really want to play those games sometime.
If They Do Finish, Will They Allow Fans?
I seriously doubt it, but that’s just a guess. The tone of recent media coverage — like this from the BBC, quoting the players’ union head — strongly suggests that playing without fans is probably where we are headed. Since most of the revenue for the big clubs comes from TV, this is how they can still keep that cash.
My Game Was Postponed; Do I Get a Refund?
Not right now. And that’s because, officially and hopefully, the March and April games will be reset for a later date. The normal process with my tickets for a rescheduled game is that if you can’t make it, we put your tickets back up for sale and send you whatever we get as a (usually partial) refund. But that was in the pre-virus world. Nobody knows what the clubs and brokers will do in this case — if there are even supporters in the grounds.
Ultimately, this all comes down to what the clubs decide to do. If you bought from a club, reach out to them. Just don’t expect any quick responses, decisions or actions. They are dealing with a lot.
If you bought from StubHub etc., contact them.
If the clubs refund all their purchases, then that would include purchases from the brokers who I buy from. And like I said, I will send 100% of what I get along to you.
But again, everything I just said adds up to “Nobody knows.”
Will My Tickets Be Good For the New Date?
If the game is played with supporters in the ground, then presumably — but we don’t know. Several clubs have already said yes to this, and it is what has always happened when a game got moved for regular reasons like TV or a Cup. For a global pandemic? We don’t know.
Doesn’t Matter When the Game Is; I’m Not Going
This would apply for games played after April 30, but which you can’t attend.
If you bought from a club, I assume you’ll be eating those tickets, unless you find a buyer. If from StubHub, etc., contact them.
If from me: If you cancel on your own, but the game goes on with supporters, then we will put your tickets up for sale per the professional and, again, I will pass along 100% of whatever refund comes through. For London matches, this seems to be around 75% of what you paid, and for matches in Liverpool and Manchester, around 50%.
As you might imagine, though, right now there is no resale market.
Will all of the above be completely different because there may still be an international travel ban or something? Very likely.
The Bottom Line — And My Best Guess
Just a guess: I think they will start playing games behind closed doors in May, in a desperate and awkward attempt to finish the season. They need the money, the competitions need resolution, and we all need some sense of normalcy. How they work it out to protect player and coach safety is anybody’s guess.
Furthermore, in that scenario, I would assume Premier League clubs give refunds, while lower-league clubs will offer the same and also say, “Please don’t ask for a refund, so we can stay in business.”
Here at Groundhopper Guides, meanwhile, any refund that comes my way will be offered to my clients in full, either as money back on their card or as a credit for future purchases.