Manchester United fans issue update on legal threats over Chelsea tickets

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Legal threats issued by Manchester United Supporters Trust have been withdrawn after the Premier League club were handed a reduced allocation for their impending showdown with Chelsea.

United are set to visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon (5.30pm) as the battle for Champions League spots intensifies before the World Cup break. However, the team will only be followed to the capital by 2,370 supporters after their ticket allocation was reduced from 2,994.

That decision was made owing to police concerns. MUST initially prompted Hammersmith and Fulham Council to issue a safety certificate for the fixture, which would have allowed more tickets to be sold, but have now opted to step back after suggesting that a judicial review might follow.

It has received legal responses from Metropolitan Police and the relevant council. However, while the group have doubled down on their discontent at the decision, MUST will ultimately stand down with a view to reducing more risk of uncertainty for match-goers.

A statement from the Supporters Trust read: “With the game now only five days away, pursuing it now would risk creating more uncertainty for match-going fans and – in the event that the decision was reversed – the club would potentially have to re-sell an additional 600-plus tickets at very short notice.

“Furthermore, legal costs of proceeding to a court hearing are very significant and likely more than double for the loser who may be required to pay both sides costs. We understand the total costs could be in the region of £40k.

“Given the greater uncertainty of success, the short time remaining before the game and cost risks, we have taken the decision not to proceed to a court hearing on this occasion.”

Reflecting on legal responses MUST have been issued from police and the council, the statement continued: “They have provided a much more detailed chronology of the events that led to the allocation decision. But suffice to say, none of their explanations are adequate, in our view.

“They remain grounded in a starting point that football fans are a problem and public order threat to be managed, but they show no evidence of thinking of the needs of fans. Legally, their defence lies in a technicality stating that there was no “decision” to be legally challenged as the conclusion was reached by consensus amongst the parties involved. This makes pursuing a judicial review more difficult and our lawyers advise us that the chances of success are much less certain.”

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