Supporters from all four of English football’s representatives in the upcoming European finals have joined forces in condemning Uefa’s “disgraceful” treatment of supporters.
Fan groups from Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea have all lambasted the governing body after a string of issues emerged over ticket allocation and the cost of travelling to their respective finals.
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust and Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly group have called for a cap on ticket pricing and greater transparency over allocation after prices of flights to Madrid, the venue of the Champions League final, rose by up to 840 per cent.
Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, described the situation as “just crazy” and said the decision-making looks “irresponsible”. He was supported by Spurs manager Maurico Pochettino, who said he was having his own difficulties finding accommodation in Madrid for his friends and family.
Liverpool and Spurs have each been allocated 16,613 tickets for the final in Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium, which has a capacity of 68,000.
The ticket allocation is even more of a problem for the Europa League final in Baku, for which Chelsea and Arsenal have each been allocated just 6,000 tickets each in Baku’s 68,700-seater Olympic Stadium.
Uefa said on Friday that the size of Baku’s airport meant that only around 15,000 fans would be able to travel to Azerbaijan from abroad. The governing body said offering more tickets would therefore “not be a responsible option”.
Klopp said: “These decisions, they must be much more sensible. It just looks irresponsible. A solution maybe, in the cities who get the final, maybe they have to make a price cut? I heard a room [in Madrid] that is normally £100 is now £2,700? Just crazy.
“Madrid is unbelievably expensive but who decides Baku for a European final? Or Kiev? I don’t know what the people who decide these things have for breakfast.”
In a joint statement, Spirit of Shankly and the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said: “our joy at reaching the final is tempered by the prices of travel, accommodation and tickets, and by the allocation of tickets.
"Prices of flights to Madrid and surrounding towns have rocketed by up to 840 per cent. Hotel rooms are over £1,000 a night and we are hearing stories of room bookings being cancelled and resold at vastly inflated rates.
"Ticket prices of in excess of £500 are also extortionate. And there needs to be transparency from Uefa and our clubs in how tickets are priced and allocated.
“For many fans, this final is not a one-off event. It is the culmination of a journey that has seen fans spending thousands of pounds travelling to six cities in each club's campaign, bringing the spectacle and atmosphere that is a key part of the product so prized by television. It is time to stop cashing in on fan loyalty."
The statement was backed by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, which described Uefa’s treatment of fans as “disgraceful”. The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, meanwhile, said that Baku is “one of the most inaccessible cities in Europe from the UK” and “must be about the worst location there is”.