El Centrocampista


Manchester United officials are set to meet with UEFA next month after learning that Athletic Club intend to charge the English fans a whopping £77.50 for tickets to the game at the San Mames stadium.

And while there is a certain irony that Manchester United has long been charging away fans in excess of £45 to visit Old Trafford, they have every right to raise concern.

It may not be uncommon for Spanish teams to increase their ticket prices when a glamour fixture comes to town but to expect to charge 86p per minute to watch 22 men run around a football pitch is ‘cheeky’ at best.

In response to the criticism, Bilbao has pointed to the fact that they will be charging exactly the same price for their own fans for the game on 15 March.

Fair enough.

It is however worth noting that when Manchester City visited Villarreal in November prices for the away end came in at £52. Sure there were limited tickets available in the home section for the same price, but those with club membership were allowed to buy six tickets at €10 a pop.

And with the away allocation sold out, perhaps it should have been no surprise to see opportunist teenagers buying as many tickets as possible and flogging them to City fans for a small profit.

By way of contrast you can still pick up a ticket for Athletics next game in La Liga against Real Sociedad for €32. In fact you could have even got a ticket for Barcelona v AC Milan in the Champions League for under €50.

La Liga isn’t a particularly pricey league to follow – you can pick up a Barcelona season ticket for less than one for Fulham – but Europe presents an opportunity to charge an extortionate price.

With the financial fair play regulations getting ever closer, it isn’t hard to see why. Sitting in their comfy Switzerland offices, UEFA have almost forced the hand of many a club to generate income at whatever cost.

And as always, the fans haven’t even been given a second thought.

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