Chelsea have revealed that over 14,000 season ticket holders will miss out on the chance to see their side compete in the Europa League final against Benfica after receiving an allocation less than 10,000.
Portuguese side Benfica have of course received the exact same amount which means that only 40% of the tickets sold will be to fans of the clubs, through the clubs themselves. Part of the reason is because the Amsterdam ArenA, which seats around 53,000, will be reduced to 48,000 capacity so that UEFA can shove a few more advertising hoardings in there, apparently.
The 9,800 tickets available isn’t close to being enough for our estimated 24,000 season ticket holders and is much less than the 18,000 made available to neutral fans, and less than what UEFA has put aside for corporate partners and sponsors.
It’s farcical and a really sad state of affairs that many of the people that have spent a lot of money and made sacrifices to follow their club around Europe will be robbed of the opportunity of seeing them play in the game all that was working towards, it’s even more upsetting that the allocation is likely to encourage ticket touting which means genuine fans will be left even more out-of-pocket as they’d do anything to get a seat.
Of course UEFA aren’t the only governing body that are guilty of this as it’s a common occurrence at both international and club level. It’s a sign of the times in which the gate is a small part of any club’s revenue whilst TV rights, merchandise and sponsorship are responsible for the bulk. The fans aren’t ignorant of this and we all have to begrudgingly accept that there will naturally be a corporate allocation, but it’s not fair to have the balance tipped quite this much.
I just hope the ‘UEFA family’ enjoy the game whilst the majority of us will have to make do with downing pints in our local.