Words: Josh Millar
Images: Offside Sports Photography
UEFA are looking to reduce ticket prices for away fans in its continental competitions.
The European Club Association (ECA) and UEFA set up a working group following complaints from Liverpool and Bayern Munich fans about ticket prices at Porto and Anderlecht respectively.
Anderlecht raised their ticket prices for their match with Bayern in 2017 to £85, which meant that many of the German club’s fans boycotted the match. After they met in last season’s Champions League—which is where the complaints were initially raised—Liverpool and Porto have both agreed to cap away tickets for their quarterfinal at £52 for both sets of fans.
Barcelona and Manchester United offered no such cooperation, with the latter charging Barça fans £102 for tickets at Old Trafford to subsidise United fans who were met with the same priced ticket at the Nou Camp. The working group is looking to put a stop to this.
The organisation's general secretary Michele Centenaro said the matter was discussed by the clubs on Monday and "a proposal" would now go to the next Uefa club competitions committee on May 14, which will hopefully mean that changes can be put as soon as next season.
Edwin van der Sar is the vice-chairman of the ECA as well as chief executive at Ajax. He said that away fans are crucial to players; they want vocal fans at games and most of the time that's the support that travels to domestic away game as well.
"We have fans who watch on TV all around the world, but I think it's important that we keep football affordable for local fans so they can travel at home and abroad."
AC Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis, formerly at Arsenal, echoes van der Sar’s sentiments and would love to see the English £30 cap on away tickets repeated in European competition, “[It] has been really positive. It was a very good step and was well received and embraced by our fans. That was a national issue, but we’ve got to have it on our [European] agenda, too.”
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