LONDON (AP) — In an unprecedented move, 10,000 fans will be able to attend the Champions League final for free.
The gesture by competition organizer UEFA for the biggest club final in world football stands in contrast to the cheapest tickets for the Super Bowl on Sunday costing thousands of dollars.
Each club will receive 5,000 tickets for the showpiece in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on May 28, which have to be given to loyal supporters rather than to sponsors or club officials.
“Football fans are the lifeblood of the game,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement, “and we thought it would be a nice way to recognize the difficulties they have experienced over the last two years and how they nevertheless still managed to support their teams and live their passion even when away from the stadiums.”
There will also be 8,000 free tickets split between the finalists in the Europa League in Budapest, Hungary and 6,000 for the final of the inaugural edition of the third-tier Europa Conference League in Tirana, Albania. For UEFA’s senior women’s club competition, 6,000 fans can attend the Champions League final for free at the Juventus stadium in Turin on May 22.
UEFA said the giveaway for the four finals in May will not impact amounts of cash distributed to clubs.
The cost of the two cheapest tickets will also be frozen for the men’s Champions League final for at least the next three seasons, with category 4 remaining at €70 ($80) and category 3 at €180 ($204), UEFA said in a statement.
The Associated Press has separately seen documentation showing the most expensive tickets will rise from €600 last season at the final in Porto to €690 ($780), while category 2 prices will jump from €450 to €490 ($555). UEFA is set to confirm all prices in March.
The Football Supporters Europe group welcomed UEFA recognizing the importance of crowds with the free tickets and pricing strategy.
“Fans do not have an unlimited amount of money to spend on football,” FSE said in a statement. “We are therefore pleased that, with this positive gesture, UEFA has acknowledged the fact that the continual inflation of ticket prices is excluding more and more people from watching the game.”
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