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Sunderland warned after Manchester United supporter's ticket allocation is cut to 1,700

Tue 20th Apr 2010 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Sunderland have been warned that thousands of Manchester United supporters could try to infiltrate home enclosures at the Stadium of Light on May 2 after restricting the club to just 1,700 tickets for a game that could decide the title race.

United have been informed by Sunderland that their allocation has been cut due to the persistent standing of their supporters on recent trips to the 48,353-capacity Stadium of Light as reported in the Telegraph.

Premier League rules stipulate that visiting clubs are entitled to receive a minimum of 3,000 tickets or 10 per cent of the stadium capacity of grounds holding less than 30,000.

United have appealed against Sunderland’s allocation, but the club have informed their Old Trafford counterparts that the decision has been taken by the local safety advisory group following the refusal of United supporters to heed warnings over persistent standing on previous visits to the ground.

Bolton Wanderers also cut United’s ticket numbers for the Premier League fixture at the Reebok Stadium on March 27 following the decision of the local authority to withhold the relevant licence due to previous persistent standing.

As United could be travelling to Sunderland with the potential of reclaiming top spot in the league in their penultimate game of the season, the Independent Manchester United Supporters’ Association (IMUSA) claims the allocation reduction will fuel a black market for tickets.

IMUSA spokesman Mark Longden said: “The safety argument is spurious at best. This could be an absolutely pivotal game, so there will be many more than 1,700 United fans travelling to Sunderland. They will just buy tickets from the home fans.

“In 1996, we went to Middlesbrough on the final day of the season and their fans were selling their season tickets for £200-300 to United fans.

“What is to stop the Sunderland fans doing the same next week? They could pay for next year’s season ticket from the proceeds and then watch the game in the pub.

“Regardless of whether it’s a game that could decide the title, that is the situation Sunderland will be facing.”

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