London: Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool fans’ joy at reaching the Champions League final has been dampened by the eye-watering costs of travelling to Madrid for the June 1 showdown.
Return tickets on budget airlines, normally available for around 100 pounds (130 dollars), have spiralled to as much as 1,500 pounds (1,950 dollars), while nightly hotel rates in the Spanish capital have soared from 100-150 euros (110-165 dollars) to over 1,000 euros (1,100 dollars).
With prices for flights to other Spanish cities or even neighbouring countries also prohibitive, fans are seeking other ways to make the 1,100-1,300 mile (1,800-2,100 km) trek from London or Liverpool to Madrid, including driving or taking a coach.
But getting there is only half the problem. Each club has been allocated only 16,613 tickets for the all-English final in the 68,000-seat Wanda Metropolitano stadium - a fraction of the number likely to want to attend.
A joint statement by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust and Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly said the allocation was “miserly”, and that it was time for consumer protection to stop firms profiting disproportionately from fan loyalty.
“This has been a sensational Champions League campaign for Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC, with fans of both clubs now looking forward to the final in Madrid on 1 June,” the statement said.
“But supporters’ joy has been tempered by the extortionate costs of travel, accommodation and tickets — if they get a ticket at all with the measly allocation from UEFA.”
They called for more transparency from UEFA and the clubs in the allocation and pricing of tickets.
“For many, the final is not a one-off event. It is the culmination of a season-long journey for fans, who have spent thousands of pounds already travelling to support their team, bringing the spectacle and atmosphere that is a key part of the game so prized by television,” the statement said.
“It is time to stop cashing in on fan loyalty.”...