Manchester United are set to come under attack from their own fans after season-ticket holders learned they will be charged Champions League prices for Europa League seats next season should the club qualify for the competition.
The Europa League matches against Ajax and Athletic Bilbao were excluded from season-ticket prices when United were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage two years ago.
However Europa League tickets, which could cost up to £50, would be included in the “automatic cup scheme” for 2014-15, with season-ticket holders also forced to buy seats for FA Cup matches.
It is understood there are no plans to reduce prices for group-stage European nights – as United also did for the Ajax and Bilbao matches at Old Trafford.
Season-ticket holders are likely to buy Europa League tickets even if they aren’t included in the automatic cup scheme, in order to get a higher priority for ballots in away matches, semi-finals or finals.
United are still hopeful of qualifying for the Champions League with 12 Premier League matches remaining, though they are 11 points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.