Football fans angry as Uefa cancels European Championship tickets

Football fans hoping to attend the upcoming European Championship have reacted with anger and confusion after learning Uefa has cancelled their tickets in a ballot as stadiums reduce capacity because of the pandemic.

Uefa has begun sending emails to fans informing them that their tickets have been cancelled “as per the ballot process for matches where the number of sold tickets exceeded the new permitted seating capacities”.

Fans, many of whom have held the tickets since 2019, have taken to social media to note that Uefa is cancelling their tickets while continuing to sell expensive hospitality packages.

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Host stadiums have been forced to reduce capacity because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with attendances set to vary between 25% and 50%.

Budapest is due to have full capacity, while Wembley will be reduced to 25%, before an expected increase to 50% should national Covid-19 restrictions be eased as planned on June 21.

One fan, Tom from Cambridgeshire, told the PA news agency: “Our family had England tickets allocated since 2019 and to have them taken away from us at this late stage is really frustrating.

“We had no specific details sent through about how a ballot process for tickets already allocated would work, the communication to fans has been shocking.”

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An email from Uefa reads: “Dear football fan, We are sorry to inform you that your ticket(s) for Uefa Euro 2020 have been cancelled as per the ballot process for matches where the number of sold tickets exceeded the new permitted seating capacities.

“For tickets, purchased through the participating national associations sales programme, the rules of the respective fan clubs were applied.

“Please check the attached credit note which outlines the details of your refund.”

Others have gone on Twitter to complain that they too have had their tickets for later games cancelled despite crowd sizes not yet having been determined.

George Hull, a travel insurance claims assessor from Hanham in Bristol, said his tickets for a semi-final at Wembley had been cancelled.

George Hull has learned his tickets for a semi-final at Wembley have been cancelled. (George Hull/PA)
George Hull has learned his tickets for a semi-final at Wembley have been cancelled. (George Hull/PA)

He said: “It was kind of an annoying thing because they haven’t given final confirmation on how many they’ll have for the semi-final and final.

“Looking at it now with what’s going on with the Indian variant variant I can imagine it’ll be on the lower end of what they can have.

“But still, even the Government have been saying, up until recently, they haven’t given a final number, they’ve only guaranteed a minimum number of seats that would be available.”

“You can still buy hospitality tickets for those matches as well which is something that rubs salt into the wound somewhat.

“I fully expected to lose those tickets … because they’re the fans first ones, they’ll be the first ones to be cancelled because they’re the ones people are paying the least amount for.”

He added: “I think that they (Uefa) are for the fans to a certain degree but when the financial situation comes into things, they tend to look the other way, which is this modern football in itself.”

Scott Sheppard, 32, a coach driver from Birmingham, had been allocated two single tickets, one to what turned out to be the England-Scotland game, and one for one of the semi-finals.

He said: “I literally got an email yesterday saying they’d cancelled both tickets, even though my semi-final ticket is not until July.

“So, I don’t know the ins and outs but, as far as I’m concerned, July restrictions could be lifted more.

“We don’t even know what the capacity is going to be for Wembley in July, so I don’t understand why those tickets have been cancelled as well.

“I’m annoyed, gutted, because I’ve been reading on Twitter that they’re selling corporate tickets for upwards of 1,000 euros.

“From what I’ve read on Twitter and online it looks like that they’ve cancelled all the cheap tickets because if they can only have 20,000 fans they want 20,000 expensive tickets to make more money, I guess, and the standard fans who pay for the normal tickets lose out.”

Mr Sheppard said Uefa had handled the situation “terribly”.

“I just feel like they’ve just done a blanket cancel on all the normal cheaper tickets and they’re just going to sell them to corporate.

“If they can get 1,500 euros for a ticket, they’re gonna sell 20,000 of those, aren’t they, instead of the 200 quid tickets that I buy?

“Which is devastating.

“I’m still hoping that they’re going to realise a mistake and pull it back but it doesn’t sound like it.

“It’s a long time coming after the year that everyone’s had.

“It was one of the only things to look forward to and it’s gone now.”