Liverpool Fans Faced With $8,000 Tickets for Soccer Final

Liverpool v Villarreal CF - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Second Leg

Liverpool players celebrate beating Villareal at its 45,000-seat Anfield stadium.

Photographer: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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Liverpool’s qualification for this month’s Europa League final against defending champion Sevilla has led ticket prices on the secondary market to soar to as much as 44 times their face value.

The northwest England team, which has one of the biggest fan bases in global soccer, reached its first European final since 2007 on Thursday after beating another Spanish team, Villareal, 3-0 to complete a 3-1 series win. That match was played before a packed house at its 45,000-seat Anfield stadium.

The most expensive tickets for the final were being sold at 7,107.09 euros ($8,119) on global ticket exchange Viagogo’s website, versus a price of 163 euros set by European governing body UEFA. The cheapest 50-euro ticket was being offered at more than 16 times face value. Another provider, Ticketbis, was advertising seats in the same category from 903.66 pounds ($1,307).

“Today we saw nearly double the demand for tickets in comparison to last year,” said a Viagogo spokeswoman.

The two competing clubs are getting 9,000 tickets each for the game at St. Jakob Park in Basel, Switzerland. Tournament organizer UEFA has sold 9,000 more to fans across Europe, and distributed the remainder to local organizers, commercial partners and its corporate hospitality program.

Smaller Stadium

The choice of playing the game at a venue with a capacity of about 36,000 angered fans of Liverpool, which has 27,000 season ticket holders and took 32,000 fans to London for its League Cup final with Manchester City in February. UEFA defended its policy, saying it picked bigger stadiums for the final of the elite Champions League, and that until now the venue for the second tier Europa League final hadn’t been a problem.

Just 33,000 fans watched Sevilla beat the Portuguese side Benfica in last year’s final at the Juventus stadium in Turin, leaving about 8,000 empty seats.

“We would like to note that the number of supporters requesting final tickets varies from club to club, and of course it is impossible to predict in advance which clubs will reach the final,” UEFA said on its website.

Discount airline Ryanair Holdings Plc announced that it was laying on six special return flights to carry Liverpool fans to Basel from the club’s home city and from Dublin and London.

Sevilla, which is playing in its third consecutive final, has got a fraction of Liverpool’s fanbase and its supporters probably won’t take up their entire allocation. Should that be the case Liverpool fans could be offered the remaining tickets.

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