UEFA u-turn over football ticket prices

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PA

The price of tickets for last year's Champions League final at Wembley was too high, according to UEFA General Secretary Giani Infantino (left). That's a total reversal of the position UEFA took last year, when UEFA responded to criticism of the pricing structure by saying: "We don't think that the Champions League final is overpriced." Tickets cost from £150 to £300 and the final generated an estimated £14m.

Infantino was speaking at the Leaders in Football conference at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground and was drawn into discussion on the prospect of a second Wembley Champions League final in three years – the 2013 Final will be played at the London stadium.

His explanation of how fans were charged prices the competition's organisers now admit were too high was typical of the way football's leading bodies seem to be in charge of everything but responsible for nothing. Apparently the pricing structure for the 2010 final "slipped through UEFA's net".

UEFA flagship

It's true UEFA is a very busy organisation, so it would be a harsh critic indeed who expected European football's governing body to worry too much about the price of entry to the final of its flagship competition. What's important, after all, is that the money itself slips nicely into the organisation's account.

And anyway, according to Infantino, pricing is not only decided by UEFA but by national associations too. He promised prices for 2013 would not be so high, and said: "We will have to look at inflation and whether the Euro is still there."

So, to recap, UEFA is not solely responsible for deciding prices but it can guarantee that the decision it is not solely responsible for will not 'slip through its net' again, even though it cannot possibly give any assurance about decisions taken in partnership with another body. That's if it still thinks next year what it thinks this year, which is the opposite to last year.

Ray of hope

So far so typically evasive weaselling, but there's a ray of hope in the apparent recognition that a worldwide global economic crisis may actually require a rethink on the pricing of the product. Let's just hope UEFA doesn't change its mind again – although it's probably not down to them anyway, remember.

The line-up at the event itself also provided an interesting picture of how the game sees itself. At an event entitled 'Leaders in Football', only two speakers were players, none were women and there was, of course, absolutely no representation whatsoever for fans, whose voices are evidently not as valued as their money.

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