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Town fans warned about paying up

PUBLISHED: 20:31 28 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

AS IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks encourages season ticket holders to pay with cash or cheque, Barclaycard is urging fans to think of the possible consequences.

AS IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks encourages season ticket holders to pay with cash or cheque, Barclaycard is urging fans to think of the possible consequences.

Barclaycard, along with many other major credit card companies is taking a tough line with football clubs who have been, or who are still, in financial crisis.

They have for some time taken a stand against the possibility that fans could pay for supporting their club to find that some way through, games are cancelled because their clubs' debt problems.

Now Ipswich has been included in the crisis club list which means that credit card money will be doled out to the Town periodically and not in a lump sum straight away.

Mr Sheepshanks has made it clear he would prefer fans to pay either cash, cheque or by a zero percentage direct debit agreement but knows these methods may not be convenient.

The only credit card company not taking such a stand is HBOS – Halifax and Bank of Scotland, of which Ipswich Town has an affinity card arrangement.

A spokesman said: "It would be an administrative nightmare to work out what payments were for season tickets and what were for merchandise for example.

"Then there is the administrative costs involved with sending out the money to the clubs. We will be paying Ipswich Town in a lump sum," he added.

A Barclaycard spokesman said however that he feels they have a duty to fans and the banks to protect their money.

"Card money will go to Ipswich Town's bank to which the club will have access.

"Clubs do use season ticket money for major purchases at the start of the season but when there is a club with financial problems there is the danger of further problems.

"We have looked at the financial situation at Ipswich Town and we can't be sure that it will play all fixtures next season. This is why we are taking this stand."

Mr Sheepshanks is reported to have said this tough line had been taken against all football clubs and said: "Barclaycard in common with other credit card companies are adopting an increasingly strict approach to the whole of the football industry and not just Ipswich."

But the Barclaycard spokesman said Mr Sheepshanks was not entirely correct.

"It is only clubs that we feel are not one hundred per cent secure that are being dealt with in this way.

"Mr Sheepshanks is at liberty to ask fans to pay by cash or cheque and I can empathise with him. So long as fans know that money is not protected. By paying periodically the club's bank is not going to have to foot the bill if fans need to have a refund.

"And if fans pay by cash there would not be a refund," he added.

The spokesman said the options they had before making their decision were:

Look for some security or release the season ticket money as games are played.

"We had to take the second option because we have a duty to protect the money of the fans and the bank."

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What do you think? Is it worth your while paying by cheque, direct debit or cash or is the credit card option the safest?

Do you prefer to know your football club has some money at its disposal at the start of the season or is it better to know funds are being spread out?

Write to Evening Star Letters, 30, Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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