Chelsea fans accuse ‘greedy’ UEFA of ‘ruining’ Champions League final as club return hundreds of unsold tickets for Man City clash
The London club are chasing a second Champions League title in what will be their third appearance in Europe’s biggest club game this weekend, although the Blues will be without hundreds of fans to roar them on after returning a hefty chunk of the 5,800 tickets they were allocated by UEFA for the match at Estadio do Dragao.
According to the BBC, there was strong demand for 2,800 tickets sold with independent travel but less interest in tickets bundled together as part of a charter package, albeit with subsidized flights.
UEFA has come under fire for its ticketing policy, and prices listed on the Chelsea website range from £60 ($85) to more than £500 ($707). Fans also need to foot the bill for a PCR test to show they are Covid-negative before attending the game.
Over at rivals Manchester City, owner Sheikh Mansour has promised to ease the burden for their fans by personally paying for flights and transfer costs for supporters.Also on rt.com ‘Your move, Abramovich’: Man City owner Sheikh Mansour to fund fans' trip to Porto for Champions League Final with Chelsea
After the reports that their club had returned part of their allocation, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust laid the blame firmly at the door of UEFA.
“UEFA have ruined the [Champions League final] for many supporters,” the group tweeted, with another message depicting UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin as “The Greedfather”.
“Stand together against the lies, greed, hypocrisy and deception of UEFA and their president Aleksander Ceferin,” the group wrote.
The @ChelseaSTrust & @WeAre1894 stand together against the lies, greed, hypocrisy and deception of @UEFA and their president Aleksander Čeferin.Please re-tweet & share this message 💙#SufferinUnderCeferinpic.twitter.com/QKxbqaodqK— Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (@ChelseaSTrust) May 26, 2021
Chelsea Supporters’ Trust board member Dan Silver told the BBC: “UEFA’s lack of care for fans has again come to the fore.
“They came to be our friends over the European Super League but now they have turned their backs on us again.
“UEFA’s insistence on having charter flights – initially linked to 90% of tickets, which the clubs pushed back on – spending only 24 hours in Portugal with added Covid testing and additional costs have made it very prohibitive.
“Selling tickets for up to €400 for a limited access final with unnecessary travel is outrageous when there were obvious solutions closer to home.”Also on rt.com Porto confirmed as new host for all-English Champions League Final between Chelsea and Man City as Istanbul misses out again
Those solutions “closer to home” refer to the proposals to hold the all-English final at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Talks were held about the move but fell through when the UK government refused to waive quarantine rules for UEFA staff, sponsors, VIPs and foreign media.
The final was originally due to be held in Istanbul but was switched after Turkey was added to the UK’s ‘red list’ of high-risk Covid destinations.
The Turkish city has missed out on the showpiece for a second year in a row, after also seeing the game switched to Lisbon when the pandemic first struck last year.
This year, a maximum capacity of 16,500 fans has been confirmed for the 50,000-seater Estadio do Dragao, the home of FC Porto.
Chelsea will be appearing in a third Champions League final, having won the title on penalties against Bayern Munich at the German club’s home Allianz Arena in 2012, four years after suffering spot-kick agony against Manchester United in a rain-soaked Moscow.
The Blues’ run to this year’s final seemed unlikely at the turn of the year as they slid down the Premier League table amid an alarming slump which cost manager Frank Lampard his job.
But taking over at Stamford Bridge, former Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel steered the team past Atletico Madrid, Porto and Real Madrid in the knockout stages to set up the showdown with City.
For the German manager it will be a second Champions League final in succession, after he lost out to Bayern Munich in last year's showpiece while in charge at PSG.
Facing them will be Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions Man City, for whom it will be a maiden Champions League final, having previously only gone as far as a semi-final appearance in 2016.
Spaniard Guardiola will be chasing a hat-trick of Champions League titles as a manager, having triumphed with his iconic Barcelona team in 2009 and 2011.