1. ITV Report

Bristol Rovers offer free coach travel after Swindon confirm fans will have to pay for tickets to rearranged match

On Saturday the game between Swindon Town and Bristol Rovers was abandoned because of a waterlogged pitch. Credit: Swindon Town FC

Bristol Rovers have offered fans free coach travel to the club's return game with Swindon after it was announced fans would have to pay for tickets again despite their first encounter being abandoned.

The match last Saturday was stopped after torrential rain left the County Ground pitch waterlogged.

Yesterday Swindon Town confirmed it would be charging fans from both sides to buy tickets for the re-arranged match on Tuesday September 20.

Swindon defended the decision saying the club still had to cover matchday costs as usual.

In a statement on their website Bristol Rovers said:

Bristol Rovers would like to offer any supporter who attended the club's game with Swindon Town at the County Ground free coach travel to the rearranged fixture.

As a gesture of good will to all of our fantastic supporters who made the trip, the club will be subsiding travel to the rearranged fixture if they can produce a ticket stub from the initial game, regardless of condition.

The coaches will run from the traditional Supporters Club routes (from the Memorial Stadium & the Kingsway) with further details available shortly.

Everyone at Bristol Rovers would like to thank all the Gasheads for their incredible support so far this season.

– Statement from Bristol Rovers FC
Swindon Town chairman Lee Power stood by the club's decision to charge fans for the rearranged match. Credit: PA Images

In a statement on their website Swindon Town chairman Lee Power said:

While we understand supporters’ frustration regarding ticket arrangements for the Bristol Rovers replay, what happened on Saturday afternoon was an act of God and beyond the club’s control.

I must stress that the club still has a number of costs to meet on a matchday. These costs have increased dramatically due to the fact that this is a derby match.

We work closely with the police and the local authorities to make sure that players and supporters enjoy matches at the County Ground in a safe environment and, on this occasion, the costs to ensure this are higher than usual – a figure which has risen even further because the replay will be played in midweek. If we could reduce these costs then naturally these savings would be passed down to the supporters. However, in this situation this is not the case.

The football club is run on a model of self-sustainability. When additional costs arise, extra revenue needs to be generated to meet those financial demands.

The club have been in regular dialogue with the police and the authorities to try and reduce the costs incurred in staging this re-arranged fixture but no mutual agreement has been reached. We understand their difficulty in trying to reduce costs as they require the assistance of officers from other counties to police this game.

It is unfortunate that a number of our own supporters as well as those who made the trip from Bristol Rovers have been affected.

We are following national supporters' groups in confirming - as was quoted in the media yesterday - that clubs do not usually offer any form of refund when the game is abandoned after half-time and not before.

I would like to pay tribute to our ground-staff who do a great job in making our pitch one of the finest in the league. After spending a significant amount of money on improving the pitch this summer there was nothing that they could have done to prevent the heavy rain from causing Saturday’s abandonment.

– Lee Power, Swindon chairman