Football Supporters Europe has criticised the “exorbitant pricing” of tickets imposed on away fans for UEFA Champions League matches between two of the world’s wealthiest clubs.
Yesterday (Thursday), the governing body for European football was urged to implement stricter pricing rules by the group it consults to represent European soccer fans.
Manchester United said it would subsidise the £102 ($134/€118) expense for away fans travelling to Barcelona for the first leg of its quarter-final next month.
That price tag is almost 70 per cent more than the base ticket price of €70 for the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid.
The Premier League club has taken a “difficult decision” to ask for the same price from Barcelona fans traveling to Old Trafford.
The club claims it will use the additional revenue from the first leg on April 10 to decrease the cost of the tickets for its fans hoping to travel to Camp Nou on April 16. United said it will bring the ticket price down to £75.
The fan group, which is described by UEFA as a key stakeholder, said in a statement: “Yet again, this is proof that the current regulations for UEFA competitions are not sufficient.”
It is currently against UEFA rules to institute two-tier pricing. Previously, it has been used to force Anderlecht and AEK Athens to compensate Bayern Munich fans in the past two seasons.
“We expect UEFA to change the regulations to state that ticket prices for away fans should be the same as the cheapest tickets available for home fans,” Football Supporters Europe said.
The Germany-based group also said Man United responding with “reciprocal pricing is part of the problem”.
The group added: “Barcelona fans should not be forced to pay for the sins of their club. Indeed, just because elite level football is awash with money does not mean that fans are — quite the opposite. It is incumbent upon clubs to recognise this fact and act accordingly.”
Champions League safety rules currently say away fan tickets “must not exceed the price paid for tickets of a comparable category” for home fans.
The Associated Press contacted UEFA for comment but the body did not immediately respond.
Image: Ferran Cornellà