OPINION: UEFA ignoring fans in this seasons finals

History has been made in both the Champions League and Europa League finals. Not only are all four sides representing the same country, but that country happens to be ours. That is quite rightly taking a lot of the headlines right now, but behind the celebrations hide the issues. And the fans of Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, and Arsenal will be aware of them all soon enough.

Let’s start with the Champions League final in Madrid, the showpiece event to round of one of the best seasons in the competitions history. Both Liverpool and Spurs have written fantastic stories just to make it to this moment, with dramatic semi-final comebacks putting them on the edge of glory. And as their eye’s turn to the Estadio Metropolitano, they may not like everything that they see.

Category 4 tickets will be sold for £60 each, and that is the cheapest available. And only 20% of the allocation are available at this price, with 54% of tickets costing £154 (or a generous £120 with a restricted view). Much has been made of rising tickets across the Premier League in recent years, and this seems to be another high profile example of fans being priced out of the game. Of course fans will still pay and travel to the game, but it’s hardly a fan friendly stance from UEFA.

That’s without discussing the allocation for that game, however that doesn’t seem as bad in comparison to the Europa League final in Baku. Chelsea and Arsenal completed the magic achievement for English sides when got past Eintracht Frankfurt and Valencia respectively the day after Spurs’ heroics. Fans of the London clubs now face a long journey to Azerbaijan on May 29th, for game in the 70,000 seater Olympic Stadium.

However only 6,000 tickets have been allocated to each side, leaving around 58,000 seats unaccounted for. Now I understand that tickets must be given to dignitaries and sponsors, as with all finals, but that seems like an extraordinary number. It starts to take away from the achievement of the team if they have to celebrate it in front of a crowd of people that have turned up because the tickets were given to them. It all just seems very corporate, rather than a chance for fans to celebrate winning a major trophy.

UEFA has defended their decision with the allocation, saying that it is not “responsible” of them to give more than 6,000 per team as they couldn’t guarantee travel and accommodation for them all. Seems like a pretty weak way of defending themselves, but I suppose they have to make it seem like they are trying to think about the fans.

This hardly looks like it will be a PR win for UEFA, and they may to defend their choices even more before all is said and done.

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