Debt increases for football fans

18 August 2009 / by Andy Davies

Dedicated football fans are getting in to more debt in a bid to support their team this season.

Research from Virgin Money has shown that one in every five football fans has borrowed an average of £682 as a direct result of supporting their team.

Season ticket holders appear to be the ones most in the red, with 27 per cent borrowing capital, and 22 per cent owing more than £1,000.

Supporters of Arsenal and Manchester United have the highest average borrowing rates totalling more than £1,200, while West Ham and Aston Villa have the most fans in debt with a total of 27 per cent.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters Federation is not surprised by these results; he said: "It’s not surprising that fans of clubs playing in Europe have some of the biggest debts – following your team abroad can be an expensive business."

The inflation cost of being a football supporter since January 2006 has now risen to 15 per cent.

As the cost of watching live football matches rises for the forthcoming season, 30 per cent of regular match goers are now going to fewer games.

Mr Clarke said: "Season tickets are a big outlay, particularly as they come at the same time as fans often have to pay for their holidays, and the deferred payments schemes of some clubs have sometimes carried high interest charges."

He added the FSF would like to see clubs do more for their loyal supporters to help cover the cost of tickets.

Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: "Football fans can ill afford rising costs to follow their team, which explains why so many have borrowed to make ends meet.

"If fans are going to pay the money to follow their team, they may as well ensure they aren’t paying interest on the money they’ve borrowed by transferring their balances onto a zero per cent credit card."

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