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Tottenham will not subsidize Champions League final ticket prices for fans

Tickets to the final are expensive, but the club won’t help fans pay for tickets for which UEFA set the prices.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Tickets to the Champions League final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are expensive, even at face value. To that end supporters unions from both clubs had recently issued a joint statement asking their clubs to help offset the cost of tickets for fans who are making the trip to Madrid for the match.

Today, Tottenham Hotspur rejected that call, saying that it would not help subsidize the costs of the tickets for traveling fans, though it has raised the price of tickets with UEFA.

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust (THST) and Spirit of Shankly (SOS) released a statement in the past few days noting the high cost of tickets and travel to see the clubs play at the highest level of club football, criticized the “measly” number of allocated tickets for supporters, and asking that the clubs help fans attend, since it as on the backs of loyal supporters that the clubs have progressed this far.

Tottenham, through a statement on the THST’s website, acknowledged the significant financial obstacles presented to supporters who wish to attend the match at the Wanda Metropolitano, but argued that subsidizing ticket prices will not do anything to prevent current and future ticket price increases for such events in the future.

“As you are aware UEFA set both the allocation and the prices. We acknowledge that these prices, along with the inflated flight and hotel prices, represent significant costs for fans.

“We have and we would urge you to do so too, raised both ticket prices and the limited allocation with UEFA in the hope that future competitions can be priced more reasonably and made more widely accessible.

“For the game in hand however we do not feel it is appropriate for us to subsidise ticket prices, not least because it would remove any incentive for competition organisers to price sensibly in the future.

“Both yourselves and Spirit of Shankly have ensured that the issues of allocation and pricing have been aired and the hope must be that future competitions acknowledge fan sentiments.”

Supporters organizations like THST and SOS represent the fans who attend matches, and so it is wholly appropriate for them to express displeasure with the price of football and ask for some assistance from the club. Just getting to Madrid is extortionately expensive, much less finding a way into the Wanda on June 1. I’m sympathetic to the fan organizations that continue to work to make sure that fans aren’t left behind as football becomes a more and more lucrative business enterprise.

However, the club didn’t set ticket prices for the Champions League final — UEFA did. Therefore, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me that the club should spend what could be hundreds of thousands of pounds to offset the price of the 16,000 seats allocated to the club’s supporters. In addition, attending a high profile sporting event such as a Champions League final is always going to be an expensive proposition; the tickets are the least of it, with hotels and flights currently significantly more money than they would otherwise. It seems a bit odd that the fans who are wealthy enough to be able to afford the travel and accommodations in Madrid around a major European final would cry poverty with regards to ticket prices.

The THST went on to say on their website that they were pleased to see the club acknowledge the financial burden on fans wanting to attend, and that they also agreed to push back the 2019-20 season ticket application deadline to the end of June, which will help fans with the financial burden.

In this situation, the burden for what to do about rising ticket prices at its events falls to UEFA, and thus far it doesn’t seem as though they are willing to forego a huge cash cow in order to appease fans who are priced out of attending. Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be much that UEFA or the clubs can do to prevent airlines and local businesses from raising prices for flights and hotels.

But while I don’t feel like that’s Tottenham’s responsibility either, that’s small comfort for Spurs fans, many of whom aren’t able to afford what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch their club lift a Champions League trophy in person.