Football: United fans' ticket dismay

Click to follow
MANCHESTER UNITED fans were told yesterday they were only likely to receive 25,000 tickets for their team's first European Cup final in 31 years. News of the probable allocation for the final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona's 115,000-seat Nou Camp Stadium on 26 May was branded "ridiculous" by the club's supporters' organisation.

Lee Hodgkiss, a spokesman for the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association, said the decision would mean thousands of fans travelling without tickets and black-market prices reaching astronomical levels. A spokeswoman for Uefa, European football's governing body, said that officials would meet today to decide on the allocation, but it would "probably" be 25,000 for each of the finalists. The rest of the tickets would be allocated by Spanish football authorities.

United supporters have waited for a European Cup final since the victory of Sir Matt Busby's team over Benfica at Wembley in 1968. Hodgkiss said an allocation of 50,000 for each of the finalists would be more realistic. He said; "This is the game every supporter will want to go to. Most have waited a lifetime for a match like this."

But Manchester United's assistant secretary, Ken Ramsden, described the fans' demands for 50,000 tickets as "not realistic". He said: "We had 6,000 tickets for Wednesday night's match and only sold 4,000. We shall get as many tickets as we can get and the Germans will do the same."

Security plans for the final will be closely reviewed, a Spanish football federation spokesman said yesterday. Today's meeting will include Uefa, the Spanish football federation, Barcelona local authorities and the Spanish police, as well as representatives from both clubs.

The United central defender Jaap Stam is doubtful for Sunday's Premiership match against Leeds at Elland Road because of an Achilles tendon injury.

Next season's European Champions' League matches will be split between free terrestrial television and Pay-TV channels on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Uefa announced yesterday. Uefa also confirmed that, from next season, a player would be suspended after three yellow cards, instead of the current two.

n Arsenal yesterday announced a three-year sponsorship deal with the video-game manufacturer Sega Europe, who will replace JVC on Arsenal's shirts after agreeing a three-year deal worth pounds 12m to the club.