Collingwood boss rips AFL and Ticketek after fans dudded in grand final debacle

The Magpies CEO has called for change after fans were left crying foul over the ticket fiasco.

Collingwood CEO Craig Kelly.
Collingwood CEO Craig Kelly has called on the AFL and Ticketek to do better. Image: Getty

Collingwood CEO Craig Kelly has taken aim at Ticketek and the AFL after dozens of Magpies members were wrongfully denied tickets to the grand final over the weekend. Social media was flooded with complaints from angry Collingwood fans, with the majority coming from 'Priority 1' members who had been allocated unfavourable seats - or none at all.

The highest level of membership at Collingwood comes with a guaranteed grand final ticket should the Pies make the decider at the MCG. But the club revealed on Monday that there were 37 such members who missed out on a ticket on Sunday due to confusion in the process with Ticketek.

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There was an option for fans to select whether or not they were happy to receive 'standing room only' tickets during the registration process. If they selected 'no' in that section and were then allocated standing room tickets in the much-maligned ballot, they missed out altogether.

Collingwood members were split into priority one, two and three categories according to their level of membership. Priority one members, who paid close to $1000 for their memberships, were guaranteed access to grand final tickets but were unable to select the location or price category of their seats.

It meant some P1 members were left fuming after being allocated poor seats in unfavourable locations. Other members reported having credit cards charged on Sunday despite not receiving their ticket category - which was rectified on Monday morning.

In a statement released on Monday, Kelly said all P1 members would get their tickets even if they missed out on Sunday. He also called on Ticketek to do better, while taking aim at the limited number of tickets the AFL makes available to members of the clubs playing in the grand final.

Craig Kelly, pictured here with Beau McCreery at a Collingwood training session.
Magpies CEO Craig Kelly (L) with Beau McCreery (R) at a Collingwood training session. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

"Anyone who is a P1 member and were given a standing room ticket – that will be changed from standing room to an allocated seat," the Collingwood CEO said. "I want to be clear, Priority Two (P2) and Priority Three (P3) members were not allocated tickets prior to P1, however, accessible requirement members were fulfilled yesterday.

"We call on Ticketek to improve their system so that the moment funds are taken out of bank accounts, tickets are released to members immediately. We have been informed that 700 members whose credit cards either failed or had insufficient funds are not at risk of losing their allocation. They will be contacted by Ticketek and the club this morning."

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In a statement to the media, a Ticketek spokesperson said the process ran in line with all instructions from the AFL, Collingwood and MCG "without issue". According to Kelly, the AFL also needs to look at the number of tickets that are allocated to fans compared to corporate partners and sponsors.

The MCG can hold just north of 100,000 fans, with around 30,000 tickets going to corporates. The two competing clubs get 34,000 tickets between them, with the rest available to fans of non-competing clubs. Kelly said the Magpies' allocation of 17,000 tickets was "far from enough for our most loyal members".

"We know grand finals are a case of high demand and limited availability, which is why we call on the AFL to increase competing club allocations from 17,000 to at least 20,000 tickets," he said. "We want to assure all members that we are actively engaging with the AFL, MCC, Ticketek, and other stakeholders to push for changes and improve this system and access for our most dedicated members."

Kelly said a live site will be set up at Collingwood's AIA Centre training base for fans unable to obtain grand final tickets. He said members would be charged $4 for tickets, plus Ticketek's processing fee, while non-members can attend for $20. "This week is all about our Collingwood community and our connection with our members and supporters and we look forward to embracing the week together," he said.

with AAP

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