Chelsea return 800 Champions League tickets amid fan anger at cost and rules

Chelsea have returned more than 800 tickets out of their allocation of 5,800 for the Champions League final with Manchester City in Porto.

The returned tickets were part of a charter package, which included subsidised flights at £200, but supporters have balked at the price and the apparent restrictions connected to the package deal.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) board member Dan Silver told the BBC: “Uefa’s lack of care for fans has again come to the fore. They came to be our friends over the European Super League but now they have turned their backs on us again.

“Uefa’s insistence on having charter flights – initially linked to 90% of tickets, which the clubs pushed back on – spending only 24 hours in Portugal with added Covid testing and additional costs have made it very prohibitive. Selling tickets for up to €400 for a limited-access final with unnecessary travel is outrageous when there were obvious solutions closer to home.”

CST has previously criticised Uefa’s decision to hold the match in Portugal, after a move to Wembley collapsed because the UK government would not grant quarantine-free access to sponsors, broadcasters and VIPs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The pricing of tickets has also been criticised, with tickets starting at just over £60 and rising to almost £350. The final was originally due to be played in Istanbul until the government placed Turkey on its high-risk “red list” for international travel.

Sheikh Mansour, City’s owner, announced that he would pay the travel costs of the club’s fans attending the final.

Alongside City’s 1894 Group, CST tweeted on Wednesday: “The ChelseaSTrust & WeAre1894 stand together against the lies, greed, hypocrisy and deception of Uefa and their president Aleksander Ceferin.” The post featured an image of Ceferin mocked up to look like Vito Corleone in the Godfather, under the banner “The Greedfather”.

Uefa and the Portuguese football federation (FPF) released a statement on Wednesday afternoon setting out more detail about what fans travelling on official packages could expect. “The overwhelming majority of fans of the two finalist clubs will be travelling via organised charters, as was agreed by Uefa, the FPF and the Portuguese authorities,” the statement began.

“A comprehensive and efficient mobility system is in place to welcome those travelling fans at the airport, and bring them directly to the fans meeting points, which can only be accessed with proof of a negative test result. These measures aim to ensure that both the visiting fans and the local population can have a safe day.”

Supporters will need a PCR test 72 hours before their flights and then a further test after they have returned. The capacity for the match at the Estádio do Dragão has been fixed at 16,500, one-third of what it usually holds.