UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has hit back at Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp over his criticism of the governing body’s ticket allocation and pricing for the upcoming Champions League final in Paris.
The Reds will be contesting the biggest fixture in club football for the third time in five seasons after beating La Liga club Villarreal 5-2 on aggregate, and will face Real Madrid in a re-run of the 2018 showpiece in Kyiv after Carlo Ancelotti’s side knocked Manchester City out of the competition in sensational comeback fashion on Wednesday night.
But only 19,000 tickets were allocated to each club for the match at the Stade de France, which is running at a capacity of 75,000 for the event after replacing original host city St. Petersburg due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That means almost half of the available tickets will be going elsewhere, including to fans of other clubs who applied to UEFA for tickets, and to sponsors and corporate partners.
Once again UEFA’s approach to ticket pricing has come in for criticism, too, with fans set to be charged prices of up to £579 for category A tickets, £411 for category B, £126 for category C and £50 for category D.
Last week, Klopp scathing criticised UEFA’s treatment of fans.
‘When you see the ticket prices and the amount of tickets you get, wow,’ Klopp said. ‘Did I read right that we only get 20,000, [Real Madrid] get 20,000, and it’s 75,000 seats? That makes 35,000… what? Where are these tickets? These tickets are really expensive too.’
Ceferin revealed at a press conference in Vienna that he called Klopp in order to try and allay the Liverpool manager’s concerns, and claimed that the high ticket prices were the fault of clubs themselves.
‘It’s the system that works and clubs couldn’t function differently,’ Ceferin claimed. ‘For [UEFA], not much [would] change if all the tickets will be €10, but it will change a lot for the clubs. A lot.’
‘I explained it to him a bit more and took much more time because I went through every single number. From the revenues from the finals, UEFA gets 6.5 per cent and 93.5 per cent goes to the clubs. From the other matches, 100 per cent of the revenues goes to the clubs.’
Ceferin also sort to address criticism of the fact that both clubs combined have only received around half of the total number of tickets available, saying that sponsor companies who pay high annual fees deserve access over fans due to contractual obligations.
‘Fans of both teams get [nearly] 20,000 tickets each. If sponsors that pay 100 or more million euros sponsorship — of which 93.5 per cent goes to the same clubs — get some tickets, it’s part of a contractual obligation that we have.
‘UEFA doesn’t get more tickets than the others. Some tickets go to the market, some tickets go to the fans and some go to the partners. It’s not UEFA. I’m not giving tickets for free to my friends or selling to my friends.’
Liverpool have already won the Carabao Cup this season, and will contest the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday against Chelsea.
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