Bath City reach out to Polish community
Bath City are attempting to boost their crowds by offering an 80% discount on matchday tickets to Polish people.
If they produce their Polish ID card, football fans can watch Bath take on Grimsby Town on Saturday for £2.50. The normal price is £13 to stand on the terraces and £14 for a seat.
Film director and City fan Ken Loach welcomed the club’s call to the Polish community. He said: “It is a good idea, I hope they will chant in Polish. There is a fantastic opportunity on the playing side and we just want to boost the attendance.”
Officials at Bath say they are simply trying to draw in a minority group and have checked with the Equality and Human Rights Commission that they are within their rights to offer the discount.
But some fans of the club, which plays in the Blue Square Bet Premier league, claim the policy amounts to racial discrimination and say the club should be rewarding its followers instead.
One supporter wrote on fans’ forum www.ilovebathcity.com: “To offer such a huge discount to one small community is plain wrong.
“The people who have loyally supported City through the lean years, and the regulars who have come back, are the ones who should be rewarded, not one small community, the majority of whom will not return in the future.”
Another supporter wrote: “This is another kick in the teeth for City’s full-paying English supporters and I don’t want to stand next to anybody who’s bought a ticket cheaper than mine because they are Polish.”
The promotion is part of a campaign by Bath City to attract its first 3,000-plus crowd at a regular league match since 1978. As part of the push, students are being offered a discount to the game against Grimsby, but the club also decided to attempt to court the Polish community in Bath and Bristol.
It has advertised its offer at churches that hold Polish masses and at two Polish butcher’s shops.
Bath City’s communications and enterprise manager, Ned Vaught, said: “One of the ideas that had been floating around for a while was to try and involve Bath’s Polish community in the club.
“Polish fans are normally enthusiastic football supporters but, in general, have not adopted their local teams when moving to the UK. We were already planning a substantial discount for Bath’s student population so I proposed rolling in the outreach to the Polish community as well.
“The Equality and Human Rights Commission emailed me to say that this was all right to do, so everything seemed set.”
From The Guardian