Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Tickets to Club World Cup final sell for five times face value

Al Ain supporters dig deep to ensure they make historic clash with Real Madrid

Al Ain fans get ready for their previous clash against Wellington in this year's Fifa Club World Cup. Chris Whiteoak 
Al Ain fans get ready for their previous clash against Wellington in this year's Fifa Club World Cup. Chris Whiteoak 

Tickets to the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi are changing hands at more than five times their face value, football fans have revealed.

Al Ain supporters said excitement over the tournament had reached fever pitch after their squad’s semi-final win over the South American side River Plate.

On Thursday, the website Viagogo - which allows ticket holders to sell their seats on for profit - listed tickets originally costing Dh100 now going for more than Dh500.

More expensive seats which promised a better view of the game and originally cost Dh400, were advertised for more than Dh1,700.

“I would have gone to the stadium even if I didn’t find tickets,” said Safee Adel, who has been an Al Ain fan since 1994 and paid Dh500 for a ticket with a face value of Dh100.

“Honestly, I don’t care about the price. I would pay any price for the ticket. [The black market] is a little risky, but what can we do?”

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Ticket resellers charge UAE customers as much Dh450 in booking fees

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The cost of tickets began to soar once Al Ain beat the South American champions on Tuesday in the first of the semi-finals.

In the second of the semis, Real Madrid, the European champions, defeated Kashima Antlers of Japan on Wednesday to set up what many consider to be the biggest match in UAE football history.

Mr Adel said he was now hoping his side could pull off what would be considered one of the greatest football upsets of all time this Saturday.

Real Madrid’s squad includes Gareth Bale, who scored a hat-trick in the semi-final and is believed to earn Dh1.6 million per week, and Luka Modric, who recently won the Ballon D’or, awarded to the player judged the best in the world.

“We have to remember we are playing Real Madrid, the biggest club in the world,” said Mr Adel, 32.

“But if we play with the same spirit, there is no impossible. We have to fight for the glory. But we are happy to reach the final.”

All tickets for the fixture sold through official channels have now been sold.

But numerous websites such as Dubizzle, the classified listings website, are still advertising seats at inflated prices.

The match kicks off at Zayed Sports City Stadium at 8.30pm.

“The fans are very excited – they are all talking about this final match,” said Mohammed Nabil, who was first taken to watch Al Ain by his father in 1985 and has been a fan ever since.

“Now so many people are selling tickets at high prices, and fans will pay.”

Mr Nabil said he had booked his tickets for the final well in advance, meaning he paid face value.

He attended Al Ain’s quarter final, against Esperance de Tunis of Tunisia, and said he had never before seen the side’s supporters “acting in this crazy way”.

“At first we just hoped Al Ain would get past the Tunisian team,” said the 37-year-old pharmacist, who was born in Al Ain but now lives in Ajman.

“When we reached the semi-final against River, I was already satisfied with the achievement.

“Logically, Real will win by three or four goals, but this is history for Al Ain. We need to fight until the end.”

A spokesman for Viagogo said that its service “does not set ticket prices”.

“Sellers set their own prices, which may be above or below the original face value,” he said. “Where demand is high and tickets are limited, prices increase."

Updated: December 20, 2018 03:38 PM

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