Liverpool fans worldwide have been frustrated by UEFA’s decision to leave 400 seats at the upcoming Europa League final empty, while some Europa League final tickets have been put up for sale for as much as £3000 as demand for the showpiece event soars.
Tickets exchange websites have put certain Europa League final tickets up for sale at £3000 and above, with many Liverpool fans left disgusted by the inflated prices. Fans have now been warned of counterfeit tickets ahead of the final on Wednesday.
Superintendent Jon Ward, a match commander with Merseyside Police in Switzerland, warned supporters that fans with counterfeits will not be allowed access to the match regardless their situation.
“We are aware of this and we always knew there was a likelihood people would take an opportunity to create counterfeit or forged tickets,” he said.
“I understand fans will want to get to this game and I understand the demand for tickets, but the game is sold out.
“I am confident there will be a number of checks fans have to go through to get to the stadium.
“They will check whether those tickets are genuine. If they are not you will not get near the stadium.”
Tickets for the final have been in very high demand, with Liverpool fans frustrated that 400 tickets reportedly earmarked for the club are to be used as a makeshift barrier between the fans.
The club have been allocated just 10,600 tickets for the match, which takes place on May 21st, despite FC Basel’s St-Jakob Stadium – the host stadium – having a capacity of over 35,000.
Both Liverpool and their final opponents Sevilla had initially shared 18,000 tickets between them, with the remaining 17,000 said to have been split between general sale and corporate partners.
Spanish side Sevilla sent back 2,000 Europa League final tickets, which was then to be sent to Liverpool due to demand, with 17,000 fans applying for tickets. But only 1,600 have made it to the Anfield side, with the remaining 400 to be used to separate the two sets of fans on matchday.
A UEFA spokesman said: “1,600 (extra) tickets were given to Liverpool, so the total is 10,600 for Liverpool. The remaining 400 returned by Sevilla could not be given to Liverpool to allow proper segregation.”
There has been widespread criticism of UEFA’s decision to hold the final in Switzerland, with the 35,000 capacity stadium deemed by many to be too small to accommodate such a large event.
Former Liverpool player John Alridge has been one of the more vocal, stating that UEFA are shooting themselves in the foot in their attempts to make the Europa League a more important competition in the face of the prestigious Champions League.
He wrote in his Liverpool Echo column: “Liverpool reaching the Europa League final is a brilliant achievement, but what a shame there has been so much talk about the fact only 10,000 tickets or so have been made available.
“Why is it in Basel? I can’t see the logic in it. I don’t know whose decision it was, but it can’t have been a football person. It’s definitely left egg on their face.
“They want to make this cup more prestigious and give the carrot of Champions League qualification to the winner, then all of a sudden they decide to put it into a stadium that is not fit to host a final so big.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. Think of all the fantastic arenas in Europe that would qualify to host this sort of game, and they put it in one of the smallest ones.
“UEFA’s decision is ludicrous and dangerous.”