Cardiff City offers ticket refund in shirt row

Cardiff City playersBarrington Coombs/EMPICS Sport

Cardiff City football club has faced a rebellion from some fans, after changing the colour of its shirt. In an effort to extinguish the fire, the club has offered season ticket holders the chance to get their money back.

So what's the fuss about, and is the refund a good sign that fan power is triumphing?

The rebrand

According to the BBC, the club unveiled a change in the club's shirt colours from blue to red back in May, and immediately faced criticism. The change came as part of an investment from Malaysian investors Vincent Tan and Dato Chan Tien Ghee, known as TG. The rebranding also sees a change in logo from a bluebird to a dragon. The idea is that it will help the club appeal to the Asian market, and as a result will help increase revenue to deal with Cardiff City's debts.

The row

There has been a row rumbling ever since on what is an emotive issue. The official supporters club balloted members and found that just under half supported the changes, around 45% reluctantly accepted them, and 7% completely rejected them.

This week, the club held a discussion with a group of disgruntled fans who had been demanding their money back from their season ticket. After the meeting the club decided to offer refunds to 70 of the 16,000 season ticket holders, and sent letters and emails to those who have expressed their dissatisfaction. They then have ten days in order to take advantage of the offer. If they take it up, the club will give them a refund as long as they are able to resell the ticket.

So is this a victory for fan power?

There will be those who accept that any concession is good. The fans were demanding their money back or an end to the rebranding, and they got one of the things they were asking for.

However, clearly this isn't the outcome they were hoping for. The colours of their team will still change - the only choice they have is whether or not to watch it happen.

The relationship between a fan and their club is not something that can be easily turned off. If it was something that could be changed by money, then those clubs with the worst value football tickets would simply see fans leaving in droves every year.

Clubs know they have their fans for life, and that to a certain extent their demands can come second to those of investors, who they need to keep the insanely expensive business of overpaying players alive. They know that while fans will argue and complain most won't walk away because the life of a football fan was always supposed to be about long-term commitment and continual abject disappointment.

But is this fair? Let us know in the comments.
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