UEFA dismisses complaints over Europa League final venue
ZURICH—UEFA has dismissed complaints that the Europa League final venue in Basel is too small, after fans of finalists Liverpool complained that “a large number” of supporters would miss out.
European soccer’s governing body said that “at least” 9,000 tickets would be reserved each for Liverpool and opponents Sevilla at the 35,000-capacity St Jakob Park. The Liverpool supporters’ club Spirit of Shankly had issued a statement on Wednesday, before the second leg of Thursday’s semifinal final against Villarreal, warning of the difficulties facing supporters.
“We hope that in future years, UEFA will make changes and stage the final at a ground that allows more genuine supporters of the final clubs to attend,” it said.
“It is crystal clear that this amount of tickets will not be enough to satisfy demand.. Tens of thousands of supporters will have attended every home game this season and a large number will miss out.”
It also complained of “the cost of travel increasing by the minute from greedy travel operators”, a lack of accommodation and lack of public transport out of the city after midnight.
“It is pretty clear that Basel is not best equipped to deal with such large numbers that we have witnessed in previous years,” it added.
UEFA spokesman Pedro Pinto said the final venues were chosen almost two years in advance due to “the enormous logistical effort involved.”
He said the stadium, which is home of Swiss champions FC Basel and hosted matches at Euro 2008, as one of Europe’s “elite venues”, adding that capacity was just one factor taken into account.
“UEFA tends to select slightly smaller, topquality venues for the UEFA Europa League final,” he said. “This means UEFA can give more of its national associations an opportunity to host a club final. “The number of supporters requesting