Liverpool FC have reached the Champions League final. Again. In Paris, against Real Madrid. Again. For our fans, it’s another European final jaunt, the climax of the season, the hope of winning again.
For some fans anyway. For thousands there will be no trip to Paris because there will be a shortage of tickets. Again.
Stade de France, the venue for the final, holds 75,000. LFC and Madrid, each receive shy of 20,000. In total, loyal supporters will make up just over 52 percent of the capacity crowd.
A free-for-all public ballot accounts for 12,000 (16 percent), and the remainder of the allocation will be given to the UEFA ‘family’ and mostly corporate sponsors.
Unfortunately, for some of those lucky enough to get a ticket, the cost will be prohibitive. There are four price categories, ranging from €70 to €690 The majority of tickets are in category 3 and cost €180 each. There are no concessions for over-65s or under-16s. Previously child-adult packages have been available, but no more.
Since 2018 when LFC last played RM in the final, UEFA’s ticket revenue – based on our allocation – has gone from €3.06m to €4.22m, which equates to a 38 percent increase in four years.
Football, as a spectacle, is beamed across the globe, the faith, joy and despair of fans watching in the stadiums sold and packaged as theatre, as compelling as the drama on the pitch. UEFA depend on this, they know football without fans is nothing.
In standing up to the failed Super League, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “I can’t understand how you can see your fans protesting and you don’t care. You are full of money anyway, you’re not poor, but you want more and more and more.”
Well Mr Čeferin, Liverpool fans are protesting and you don’t seem to care. UEFA are not poor, but you seem to want more. And more.
Similarly, UEFA’s proposed changes to their club competitions in the future ignore the interests of the fans. Football supporters are tired of being ripped off. Tired of watching their team reach a final, but unable to find a ticket to attend. And tired of exorbitant prices.
It’s time UEFA recognised the power of fans and the importance of fans above sponsorships.