1. ITV Report

Champions League: Bitter disappointment for football fans turned away from stadium over fake tickets

  • Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

Football fans in Madrid could miss out on watching their team bid for European glory today over fake tickets for the Champions League final.

The Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur final has led to an unprecedented demand for tickets, with some changing hands for up to £10,000.

It comes after tens of thousands of English football fans travelled to Madrid without a ticket, while authorities decided to ban big screens from broadcasting the match.

Fans also blamed a shortage of supporter tickets and the decision to ban giant television screens from showing the match, as the number of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur supporters to have arrived in Madrid for the final vastly outnumbered the 16,000 tickets available to both sets of fans.

Liverpool fan, Jose Arellano Ramirez, who travelled from Mexico after buying tickets on Stubhub more than three months ago for his son's 15th birthday said he was "disappointed" after finding out the tickets were cancelled.

Mr Ramirez said he found out his purchases were cancelled after receiving a call from the seller just two days ago.

"I thought that the company was secure, I put my confidence in the decision and I have never expect to have such a problem," he added.

Those not able to catch the match from inside the stadium will be forced to find a pub showing the football, after authorities decided the two designated fan zones should close just before kick-off, while officials ruled nowhere in the city centre should be able to show the game on a big screen.

Spurs fans in fine voice in Sol Square in Madrid. Credit: AP

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, who had written to his counterpart in Madrid to request a giant screen broadcast the match, said “UEFA guidance” was behind the decision.

He added in a tweet on Saturday evening: “Told 14,000 bars and restaurants and cafes open with screens.”

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It came as Spanish police said they had arrested four Britons for violence on Friday evening. No further details were made available.

Graham Owen, from Chester, said he was one of the “lucky ones” to get a ticket, which cost him 60 euros.

The Liverpool supporter said: “The allocation is way too low for a 70,000-odd seater stadium to have 16,000 tickets for each team. It doesn’t seem fair that I’ve got a ticket and my mate hasn’t.

“I’m afraid it’s just money – there will be people at the game in the corporate seats who haven’t got a clue about the game or what’s going on and that’s wrong, to me.”

His friend, Rob Hurst, who has travelled without a ticket, said the amount tickets were trading for on the black market was “ridiculous”.

“It’s all about money, mate,” he said.

“The Europa League final was in Baku (Azerbaijan) – how can they have it there? It needs to be Spain, England, Italy or Germany every year, because it’s only really the teams from those countries who usually get to the finals.

“There should at least be a big screen here. Madrid is one of the best cities in Europe – they’ve got to accommodate the fans.”

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A Liverpool fan from the Wirral, who gave his name as Roger, said it was a mistake not to keep the fan zones open during the game.

The 52-year-old, who has a ticket for the match, said: “Fans are now going to be booted – where are they going to go? I can see there being trouble, really I can.”

His friend, a 20-year-old from Liverpool who went by the name Jacob, said he was disappointed to have to watch the match in a pub.

“We are expecting 40,000 Liverpool fans here – where are we all going to go now?,” he added,

Irish Spurs fan Jason McAuley said he and Liverpool-supporting friend Antony Lockley would find a pub in Madrid to watch the match if their unlikely quest for a last-minute ticket failed.

He said: “We are going to get up, have breakfast, and see what’s happening. In the time we’ve been out here, not a single person has been genuinely selling a ticket or even talking about it."

Liverpool fans set off a smoke flare in the Plaza de Felipe II Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

He added: "So if needs be we will find a pub somewhere to watch it in.

"One of us will be devastated for about an hour afterwards, so we will have a beer, give the other one a slap round the face to cheer them up a bit, then just got on with it and have a good night together as mates."

But Mr Lockley said he was confident the city would be able to adequately cater for the influx of ticketless supporters.

He said: “I’ve been to Madrid many times and it is clear to me that this is a football mad city.

"There are bars everywhere, there are more places to watch the game than you could imagine."