MPs defend McDonald's World Cup tickets

MPs defend being given free tickets to England's first match in the World Cup
MPs defend being given free tickets to England's first match in the World Cup

MPs were last night forced to explain why they had accepted free tickets for England's opening game at the World Cup from MacDonald's.

The House of Commons football team, which includes 12 MPs, was given 23 tickets with the best views of the pitch for the match against Paraguay in Frankfurt on Saturday.

The revelation has prompted condemnation from fans groups, while questions will also be raised about the intentions of McDonalds, an official sponsor of the tournament.

Kevin Miles, of the Football Supporters Federation (FSF), said: "They've got the tickets because they're MPs, but the biggest crime is that McDonald's is in the position to give them out. They're doing it to buy themselves influence, let's make no mistake about it."

But last night Labour MP Shahid Malik insisted many people who play "an important role in football" have access to tickets, and that politicians, many of whom promoted the game, should not be excluded.

John Leech, Liberal Democrat MP and a member of the parliamentary football club, said he accepted the ticket because he was travelling to Germany anyway to play in two charity matches.

"We are giving money to charity as part of the trip and we play games to raise awareness of good causes, so it is very sad that it is twisted to suggest that we are just getting a freebie," he said.

Mr Leech added that, as a Manchester City supporter for 22 years, he was as much a football fan as anyone.

"The tickets that have been provided for us would have been given out by McDonald's to somebody else, and I'm sure there's plenty of fans that would like to see the game as I would," he said.

"I fully understand people's frustration, but it's not up to us who gets the tickets."

A spokeswoman for McDonald's said the football team had approached them and they had supplied 23 category one tickets, which are reportedly going for £1,000 each on the black market.

"We have invited the parliamentary football team to an informal meal at a local restaurant. I can't confirm how many will accept the invitation. That is not corporate hospitality. It is just a local restaurant," she said.


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