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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

FSE call on Uefa to address 'unfair' away ticket prices as Manchester United fans continue to get stung

Anderlecht and Sevilla charged visiting Bayern Munich and Manchester United supporters €100 last season, while United fans face €85 tickets at Valencia

Jose Mourinho and Paul Poba during Manchester United's Uefa Champions League match at Sevilla last season, for which fans were charged €100 for a ticket. AP Photo
Jose Mourinho and Paul Poba during Manchester United's Uefa Champions League match at Sevilla last season, for which fans were charged €100 for a ticket. AP Photo

European football fans are calling on Uefa to change and clarify their rules to prevent travelling supporters being subjected to high ticket prices in their club competitions.

Belgian club Anderlecht and Spanish side Sevilla charged visiting Bayern Munich and Manchester United supporters €100 (Dh430) respectively for their Uefa Champions League games last season – a record price for a normal away ticket.

Bayern and United fans protested and both received partial compensation, but Valencia are charging United fans €85 for December’s Champions League game – when the vast majority of their own fans in similar sections are paying far less.

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United tried to negotiate with Valencia to lower the prices, but the Spanish club did not agree. On Friday, United announced that they will raise their own prices for visiting Valencia fans by £22 (Dh106) to match the amount their own travelling fans are being asked to pay. United will then compensate each of their own fans £22.

Football Supporters Europe (FSE), which has members in 48 countries across the continent, will ask Uefa on Wednesday to amend and clarify their regulations “at the earliest possible opportunity to prevent clubs from using loopholes, for example by charging regular season ticket holders or members much less than away fans.

“We are also calling on Uefa to continue to enforce its regulation by obliging clubs to compensate the affected fans in cases of a breach of the ticketing regulation.”

The problem is acute in Spain, which doesn’t have a culture of away fans for most domestic games.

While German clubs usually offer good value for money with their ticket prices, and tickets for away games in England’s Premier League are now capped at £30, four of the five most expensive tickets in Manchester United’s history have come from Spanish teams.

Athletic Bilbao charged United fans €90 for a 2012 Europa League game and Villarreal regularly charge visiting clubs over €90 for a ticket. Barcelona charge similar amounts for fans of big name opponents, though the 5,000 PSV Eindhoven fans in the city for Tuesday’s Champions League game paid €54.

“These unfair, punitive prices raise concerns on the capacity of a growing number of dedicated football fans to follow their club abroad,” FSE said. “The presence of those away fans in substantial numbers is a key part of the spectacle and atmosphere of Uefa Club Competitions.”

FSE would like other economic factors to be taken into consideration.

“We further call on all clubs playing in European competition to adopt self-regulation mechanisms, taking the purchasing power of the respective country of the visiting team into account, therefore encouraging more supporters to travel from countries with significantly lower wages and salaries.

“The worrying trend currently observed in the ticketing policy of some European clubs for their away sections requires all stakeholders to come to a common understanding on the reinforcement of Uefa regulations, taking into consideration the interests of all active supporters and the overall cost of travelling abroad for an away supporter, as well as a general rethinking of pricing for European Club Competitions tickets.”

Uefa have been contacted for a comment and it is hoped that they will agree to step in rather than leaving matters to individual clubs.