Leyton Orient have allocation for Blackpool trip cut by 700 following EFL-backed suspension of ticket sales

James Benge
Bloomfield Road: Orient will play the final game of their 112 year stay in the Football League at Blackpool: Getty Images

Leyton Orient have had their ticket allocation for their final game of the season, away at Blackpool, cut by 700 after talks between the English Football League (EFL) and the two clubs.

The EFL supported Blackpool’s request to temporarily suspend ticket sales to travelling fans on Monday in light of the pitch invasion at Orient’s final game of the season, which was subsequently completed behind closed doors.

Though an agreement has now been reached for tickets to go back on sale they will only be available to the visitors' season ticket holders or members of the Leyton Orient Fans Trust (LOFT). All previously sold tickets remain valid.

An EFL spokesman said: “We are delighted we have been able to find an amicable solution to this particular issue and would like to place on record our thanks to all those parties who have assisted the EFL in achieving the outcome.”

​Blackpool had asked the EFL to back its decision to temporarily block visiting Orient fans from buying tickets after the scenes at Brisbane Road on Saturday, where around 250 supporters burst onto the pitch in the 85th minute to protest against owner Francesco Becchetti.

In response to today’s decision Orient’s fan trust said: “LOFT is pleased to note that common sense has prevailed at the EFL, in respect of yesterday's suspension of ticket sales for Saturday's match at Blackpool. It is unfortunate that this could not have been resolved between Blackpool FC and the EFL without causing O's fans 24 hours of worry and anger.

“LOFT would like to note that the conditions of eligibility for sale of further tickets to Leyton Orient supporters were not of our asking, nor indeed our suggestion. LOFT was not consulted about this, nor will we be divulging who is and isn't a LOFT member (in line with our Data Protection Act obligations), nor do we take responsibility for any issues as a result of the EFL's criteria for sale.

“We feel that no restrictions beyond those which would ordinarily be in place for such a fixture are necessary, nor should it be necessary to restrict the number of tickets available to O's supporters.”

Under the Italian businessman’s ownership Orient have suffered a dramatic reversal in fortune, slipping from the upper reaches of League One to relegation from the Football League after 112 years in the top four divisions.

Off the field Orient has been in turmoil, with staff having to wait until April 24 to receive their wages for March.

A winding-up petition in the High Court was adjourned until June 12 after a £250,000 debt was settled but the future of Orient remains in some doubt, with Becchetti yet to provide answers to the EFL over his intention.

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