It’s a Sports Fest!

After last weekends royal wedding celebrations this week it’s a massive weekend of sport. Today is the Championship Play-off between Aston Villa and Fulham, followed by the Champions League Final in Kiev between Liverpool and Real Madrid. Tomorrow is the iconic Monaco Grand Prix followed by Real Mallorca’s biggest game in years as they play their second leg of their first placed play-off.
Said to be one of the richest games of football the winner of the Championship play-off will not only secure Premiership status but a financial windfall like no other. There’s an additional revenue boost of at least £160million over the next three seasons for the victor. The high-stakes match kicks off just a couple of hours before the Champions League final in Kiev involving Liverpool and Real Madrid.
But while prestige and glory is on the line in Ukraine, the European final can’t compete with the Championship play-off in terms of financial rewards.
When UEFA decided in its wisdom to play the Champions League Final in Kiev, i bet how fans were going to get there wasn’t something that they seriously thought about. As by all accounts fans of both teams have found it an absolute nightmare. Each club were allocated 16,626 tickets although Kiev’s Olympic Stadium has a capacity of 70,050, the venue has been reduced to 63,000 for the showpiece finale. While 33,252 tickets have been given to the finalists, 6,700 are available to worldwide supporters. The rest of the tickets will be reserved for hospitality members, rights holders, commercial partners, officials, players past and present as well as media. So that’s wrong to start with, where you have Europe’s and possibly the World’s biggest club game and the two protagonists only have half the stadium. Let’s not forget that Anfield Liverpool’s home ground has a capacity of just over 54,000 and the Santiago Bernabéu Real Madrid’s home ground has a capacity of just over 81,000. So to give both teams that ticket allocation is a complete joke.
Real Madrid have apparently given back 2,000 tickets not because they don’t want to go but they just can’t afford to get there and even if they do get there the cost of hotels is extortionate. One Liverpool fan I know was offered two nights in a hotel in Kiev for…wait for it….14,000€! Two nights later the same room goes out for 50.00€. The problem isn’t just limited to Kiev though. As they are so many fans that can’t go, Liverpool have sold out tickets at Anfield and at the Echo Arena. Meaning that hotels in Liverpool have also put up their prices. The rather modest Adelphi Hotel is charging north of £330.00 for Saturday night. Now this isn’t just a football problem, I’ve highlighted the same problem with concerts before.
When the tickets go on sale they are snapped up by the ticket websites and touts who buy them all up and sell them at inflated prices. Ed Sheeran has cancelled more than 10,000 tickets for his upcoming stadium tour and there are a further 500 tickets still be revoked in an attempt to beat ticket touts.
If you’re a fan with a genuine ticket or two, they’re totally safe though.
After tickets for the tour went on sale Ed’s team identified purchases by known ticket touts and promptly cancelled them.
Any tickets listed for re-sale on sites such as Viagogo have also been revoked, with fans who have purchased from those sites given assistance to claim refunds and get genuine tickets.
According to the BBC, almost £250,000 has been returned to fans who had inadvertently bought invalid tickets originally purchased by touts.
That’s the way to go about it, so why doesn’t football and its authorities do the same?
The same rules should also apply to airlines and hotels who are without doubt as I have proved above profiteering on these events. And who suffers? The supporters, the fans who support their club or who buy the artists songs and when they want to go and see them live are subsequently robbed blind.
I think I might have the answer, whilst it wouldn’t solve it completely it would mean that so many more real fans could see the game. Why not make the Final a two legged affair? Thus removing all the hotel and flight costs for the home leg and if they choose to travel to the away leg then it’s a choice not a necessity. Apart from the group stages every other round is two legged, so why not the final?
I must talk about Real Mallorca as this weekend sees their biggest game in years with the second leg of their play-off game against Mirandes. For seventy minutes last Sunday they looked unstoppable but unfortunately with all the pressing they did, they ran out of gas in the last 20 minutes and conceded an away goal. A result of 3-1 they probably would have taken before the start of the game but the way they played it should have been better. The atmosphere was great with just under 14,000 people pushing the team along. It will be interesting to see how they react to a much smaller stadium in Mirandes which holds just 6,000. There will be only 350 Mallorca fans officially there but I’m sure they’ll make themselves heard. I understand IB3 Tv will be showing the game with kicks off at 17.30.
Enjoy your weekend!
I  present the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca, online at http://www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear me on the radio then you’ll find me working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again i may make an understudy appearance!
Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

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