The Football Association admits that for the first time in recent years England's travelling support may not take up all the ticket allocation for group-stage matches at Euro 2012 because of the chronic shortage and expense of hotel rooms in Ukraine.
Traditionally the most numerous supporters at major championships, England fans have been discouraged by the lack of rooms especially in Donetsk, where their team play France on 11 June and Ukraine eight days later. As a result the FA has acknowledged that demand could be considerably lower than it was for the last European Championship for which England qualified, in Portugal in 2004.
In an open letter yesterday to members of its official supporters group, englandfans, the FA said that it was "confident" that the allocations agreed with Uefa last week would be enough "to satisfy expected demand".
In other words, the usual heavy demand for tickets is not anticipated. Donetsk is estimated to have a shortfall of at least 1,700 available hotel rooms, while the travel agent Thomson is offering a two-day package to watch the Kiev group game on 15 June against Sweden, which includes a two-night stay at a three-star hotel, for an eye-watering £1,244.
The exact allocations are: 7,065 v France in Donetsk; 8,872 v Sweden in Kiev; 7,065 for the final group game against Ukraine in Donetsk. Should England progress further the allocation drops to 4,302 for the quarter-finals and 4,301 for the semi-finals.
In the event of the team reaching the final, the FA would get 8,001 tickets to allocate to its supporters group.
The FA said its allocation is mainly in the two lowest-priced categories of ticket. The governing body revealed that "90 per cent of the tickets allocated to englandfans members will be within the most affordable price range, for group matches tickets will be priced between €30 and €70 each."
However, that will be of little consolation to England supporters facing hotel rates of £900 in Donetsk where the 52,500-seat Donbass Arena is situated. The local authorities have proposed to build a campsite to accommodate 3,500 supporters.
Mark Perryman, a spokesman for England fans' groups, said he believed many would wait until closer to the tournament to make a decision. "The big row at the 2006 World Cup was the lack of tickets and in particular the amount that went to sponsors," he said. "I don't think there will be quite the same anger about [this time]."Reuse content