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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Uefa to cap ticket prices for English club fans watching games in Europe

'It’s absolutely not correct that away fans are being charged five times more than local ones,' Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin says

Manchester United fans have suffered this more than any club in recent years, with average ticket prices of €90 (Dh375.7) for games in Seville, Bilbao, Villarreal and Valencia. Reuters
Manchester United fans have suffered this more than any club in recent years, with average ticket prices of €90 (Dh375.7) for games in Seville, Bilbao, Villarreal and Valencia. Reuters

It has long irritated fans of English sides when clubs, especially Spanish clubs, charge them up to five times the cost that home fans are paying in adjacent seats for European matches.

Manchester United fans have suffered this more than any club in recent years, with average ticket prices of €90 (Dh375.7) for games in Seville, Bilbao, Villarreal and Valencia. The €100 ticket price for February’s 0-0 Uefa Champions League match was the highest price for a ticket in United’s history outside of a final match.

Seville fans in adjacent seats were paying just €24 as part of their season tickets. Valencia have charged United fans €85 to see next week’s dead rubber in Spain, while Liverpool fans were charged €80 in Rome last season.

In Valencia, United fans will be in the cheapest, highest, nosebleed seats above one corner. Those Valencia fans who choose to buy tickets close to the United fans will pay similar amounts, if not more if their seat offers a superior view.

This is how the Spanish club might justify the hike, just as Sevilla when they charged fans or €50 per United attack. That followed completely valid complaints from Liverpool, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur fans about ticket prices in Seville.

Yet it is a disingenuous argument, since 90 per cent of the crowd for the Valencia v United game or the Sevilla v United game are season ticket holders who pay much less for their tickets. Their season tickets, which also include Champions League games, cost €400 behind the goal – around €15 per game.

It is not unreasonable for Valencia to charge one-off tourist prices to glory-hunting fans who only want to show up when Manchester United – rather than Leganes – are in town. Nor is it Valencia’s fault that the British pound has dropped since the 2016 European Union referendum, but why should visiting fans who go to games every week be stung as well?

Uefa has long been aware of the problem but has done little about it. Until now.

“We know about the problem," Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin told The Sun. "It would be good to do something to cap prices.

“It’s absolutely not correct that away fans are being charged five times more than local ones. The clubs are using tricks to go around the regulations. So maybe the solution is to say what is the highest charge that can be charged for away fans.

“Football is played for the fans and if the fans are treated improperly or not the same as the home fans, that’s simply wrong.”

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Updated: December 3, 2018 12:51 PM

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