Chelsea fans plan European boycott over ticket price rises
Fewer than 34,000 saw defeat of Leverkusen with more expected to miss Genk game in protest at £40 seats
Thursday 15 September 2011
Chelsea were last night refusing to panic despite fans planning a boycott after Stamford Bridge witnessed its lowest attendance for a Champions League game since the Rosenborg boycott of 2007. Just under 34,000 spectators turned up for Tuesday night's Group E opener against Bayer Leverkusen, manager Andre Villas-Boas' first European match in charge.
The attendance was still 10,000 more than for the group game against Rosenborg four years ago, a fixture that represented a nadir in club-supporter relations over ticket prices.
But Tuesday night's figure did follow a 33 per cent rise in Champions League ticket prices, which has upset some fans and has sparked a campaign on Twitter to not attend next month's home match against Genk.
Chelsea Supporters' Group vice-chairman Michelle Shaw wrote on her organisation's website on Sunday: "Not only am I boycotting Genk, I am also boycotting Leverkusen and Valencia.
"My choice, I know, but I made the decision as soon as the ticket prices were announced. Why? Because I don't want to wake up one May and find I can't afford my season ticket any more. The only way to send a message to the club is by a low attendance at the Genk game."
Chelsea slashed their Champions League prices almost in half after fans baulked at paying £48 per ticket for the Rosenborg game. But they went back up to £40 this season, with tickets for other competitions also increasing for the second straight year following a four-year season-ticket price freeze.
It is understood Chelsea are remaining calm about Tuesday night's attendance figure, part of the reason for which was the short window between the group-stage draw being made and the fixture, with clubs always preferring to play their opening game away to give them longer to sell tickets for their first home match.
It remains to be seen how the Blues will respond to a significant boycott of the Genk game next month as they attempt to balance the demands of Uefa's new Financial Fair Play regulations with maintaining an expensively-assembled squad and keeping supporters happy – all the time playing in a 42,000-capacity stadium dwarfed in terms of matchday income by Manchester United's 76,000-seater Old Trafford and Arsenal's 60,000 Emirates Stadium.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on Monday but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Toby Alderweireld to Tottenham: Atletico Madrid 'accept £11m bid' as Spurs beat Southampton to defender
Alexis Sanchez 'will miss start of Arsenal season' after Chile go all the way in Copa America
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 3 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 4 Motorists taunt suicidal woman on bridge and tell her to 'get on with it'
- 5 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture