UEFA has responded to growing concerns over the high cost of watching football in England by reducing the cheapest ticket for this year’s Champions League final at Wembley to £68 ($108).
European football’s governing body was accused of exploiting supporters when the match was last staged in London two years ago – Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 – by charging £176 ($281) for the cheapest ticket.
UEFA will announce later on Friday that it has listened to that criticism and lowered prices for the showpiece match, which takes place on 25 May, after consulting football fans across Europe.
“It is correct we should give the opportunity to everyone to go to the match irrespective of their financial conditions,” a spokesman said.
But many supporters may still view the entry level price of almost £70 as too high – even for what is arguably the biggest game of the season.
Only 13,000 of the 59,000 tickets on general sale will be priced in this new low category. The rest will be sold at much higher prices ranging from £140 to £330.
This year’s competition resumes next week with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Celtic, Arsenal, AC Milan and Bayern Munich all involved in the last 16 ties.
And some fans may still question why 20,000 seats are not being put on sale to the general public. UEFA hold back these tickets for sponsors, commercial partners and officials and administrators from European and world football.
UEFA’s response is nevertheless a sign that football’s authorities may be aware of the increased sensitivity around the cost of watching football – particularly in England where some Premier League clubs have been accused of ripping off away supporters.
UEFA has responded to growing concerns over the high cost of watching football in England by reducing the cheapest ticket for this year’s Champions League final at Wembley to £68
In January, Manchester City fans returned nearly a third of the ticket allocation for their game at Arsenal, saying the £62 price was too high.
Supporters groups have warned the Premier League it risks alienating a generation of fans by charging too much to watch games.
The Premier League says it cannot tell clubs to reduce prices but argues many have become more sophisticated over the past decade, introducing stretched ticketing policies where higher-priced tickets help subsidise cheaper tickets for fans on lower incomes.
Despite that, some campaigners want to see a greater commitment to reduce prices especially at a time when Premier League clubs are poised to see a huge increase in income thanks to the competition’s new improved TV rights deals, which take effect from this August.
Mexico has beaten Brazil with 2-1 at Wembley and has won the men’s Olympic football gold medal for the first time.
Oribe Peralta struck from the 18-yard box after 32 seconds following some poor Brazilian defending.
Fabian Marco hit the Brazil crossbar before a completely unmarked Oribe Peralta headed his team’s second goal.
Brazil, also hoping to win gold for the first time, pulled a goal back through Hulk in injury-time, before Oscar headed wide when well positioned.
But the South American side scarcely deserved to take the game into extra-time after a very patchy performance, particularly in defence.
Mano Menezes’s team had scored three in each of their previous five games and were treating the tournament as an important staging post ahead of hosting the World Cup in 2014.
But if they are to succeed on home soil they will have to show a significant improvement from what they produced at Wembley, with star forward Neymar a largely peripheral figure.
Mexico has beaten Brazil with 2-1 at Wembley and has won the men's Olympic football gold medal for the first time
Mano Menezes went into Saturday’s match under huge pressure to deliver gold and fill the one significant missing blank for the Brazilian team, but if the game was to be Brazil’s coronation as Olympic champions then Mexico clearly had not read the script.
They defeated Brazil 2-0 in a friendly earlier in the summer and stunned Wembley when Peralta’s low strike nestled in the bottom corner while many inside the stadium were still taking their seats.
Manchester United defender Rafael was partly at fault for the goal, his sloppy pass allowing Javier Aquino to nip in and dispossess Sandro, with the ball running invitingly into the path of Oribe Peralta.
Brazil could not find their stride – a situation not helped by a series of niggly fouls that broke up play and angered coach Mano Menezes, who could be seen waving an imaginary card on the touchline.
And their disappointing start was put into stark perspective when Mano Menezes made a change just after the half-hour mark, bringing on Hulk for Alex Sandro.
The substitution made a difference and Jose Corona managed to palm clear a swerving strike from Hulk while Marcelo shot wastefully wide after he had linked with Oscar and Leandro Damiao to carve open the left side of the Mexican defence.
By the early stages of the second half it was obvious that Mexico had opted to try to defend their lead.
This seemed to play into the hands of their opponents, particularly Neymar, who had disappointed in the opening half but briefly relished the chance to repeatedly run at the Mexico defence.
He twice shot wide and saw another effort blocked, but his influence soon faded and Mexico almost struck with a swift break.
There was more shoddy Brazilian defending involved too, as Fabian dispossessed an opponent far too easily and eventually saw his overhead effort rebound off the crossbar.
An unmarked Oribe Peralta later slotted home from six yards but Brazil were saved by the offside flag. There was to be no reprieve with 15 minutes remaining.
A free-kick was delivered from the right and the Mexico striker was left completely alone to head home from eight yards.
Brazil’s frustrating afternoon saw team-mates Juan Jesus and Rafael square up to each other in the final minutes.
Hulk’s injury-time strike into the bottom corner briefly ignited hope of a spectacular comeback and Oscar then headed wastefully wide at the near post as Mexico held on.