The scramble for Europa League final tickets has begun, with some fans paying more than ┬ú2,000 to secure one of the 48,000 seats at the Amsterdam ArenA for the match between Chelsea and Benfica.
UefaÔÇÖs ticketing policy has prompted outrage among Chelsea fans, with only 9,800 tickets being allocated to each club. It means that around 14,000 of ChelseaÔÇÖs season-ticket holders will not be able to get tickets for the match, prompting frantic activity yesterday on online sites such as Viagogo and eBay.
Chelsea had received 17,500 tickets for the Champions League final last season at the 71,000-seat Allianz Arena, while Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will receive 25,000 each for the final at Wembley later this month.
The Chelsea SupportersÔÇÖ Trust have appealed for Uefa to review its ticketing policies in future and there is also disappointment at the club. ÔÇ£It beggars belief,ÔÇØ said Tim Rolls of the Chelsea SupportersÔÇÖ Trust.
Chelsea officials held meetings with Uefa in Amsterdam yesterday, with supporters who travel to the Dutch capital expected to receive advice shortly on travel and security.
Uefa has increased the proportion of Champions League final tickets to fans and will review the allocation next season in the Europa League when the final takes place in the 41,000-capacity Juventus Stadium in Turin.
As well as the 19,600 on offer to Benfica and Chelsea, a further 18,000 have already been sold on general release. It is understood that it is these tickets which are now being exchanged at hugely inflated costs. Original ticket prices ranged from ┬ú40 to ┬ú115.
ÔÇ£The remaining tickets are allocated to the local organising committee, to UefaÔÇÖs 53 national football associations and to commercial and broadcast partners,ÔÇØ said a Uefa spokesman.
A major question ahead of the final will be whether John Terry is selected for the Europa League final after missing last yearÔÇÖs Champions League final through suspension.
Branislav Ivanovic, who will be competing with Terry for a place in central defence, was also banned for that match and is hoping to make amends on May 15.
ÔÇ£This is probably my final,ÔÇØ said Ivanovic. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs not the Champions League but when youÔÇÖre already in the final itÔÇÖs the same and you have to prepare for the game and everything is like the Champions League final.
ÔÇ£It was very hard last year. I couldnÔÇÖt control my emotions in that game.
ItÔÇÖs much harder to watch the game, especially like this, when all your career depends on it and youÔÇÖre not on the pitch.ÔÇØ
With the Europa League final and four Premier League matches to play, Chelsea will have completed 69 games by the end of the season.
ÔÇ£This kind of season you can count as three seasons in one season ÔÇô itÔÇÖs really hard, really difficult,ÔÇØ said Ivanovic. ÔÇ£I cannot even remember when we started the season.ÔÇØ