Up to 800,000 football fans are expected in Ukraine for the Euro 2012 Championships this summer.
However, not all of them will be lucky owners of official match tickets. Prices vary from 30 euros to 600 euros, averaging at 100 euros per ticket.
Head of the ‘Euro 2012 Ukraine’ local organising committee Markiyan Lubkivsky said a lot of thought had gone into deciding the prices.
“The tickets are not expensive. We were very careful and reasonable with pricing policy. We had a lot of consultations, researching the Ukrainian and Polish markets, so tickets for Euro 2012 matches are much cheaper than they were at Euro 2008.
“So it’s not a problem for an average Ukrainian to buy tickets for an event which takes place in his country once in 50 or 100 years,” he said.
Nevertheless, instead of the expected high demand for tickets, organisers of Euro-2012 faced a situation of being left with surplus tickets, and they announced an additional sale in Ukraine at the beginning of May.
“There was no mass return of the tickets. What had happened at this stage? People had until a certain date to pay for their tickets. Some of them paid and some of them didn’t. UEFA had a technical deadline and today we can say that some tickets remain unsold, there are not a lot of them in comparison with total quantity of tickets – 1.45 million. Fifty thousand unsold tickets is not the quantity we should worry about,” explained Lubkivsky.
One of the reasons why some fans did not pay for the tickets are the very high prices for accommodation in Ukraine, which have risen sharply for the period of Championships.
For a standard room in a four star hotel, fans can expect to pay around 300-400 euros per night.
For people who prefer budget accommodation, there are renovated university dormitories, or hostels, as organisers call them.
The disadvantage of booking hostels, is that often people are asked to pay for at least three nights, which can come to between 150-300 euros for a stay in modest facilities.
However, over the last few weeks, with the start of the tournament fast-approaching, prices for accommodation in Ukraine have started to go down.
The French ambassador, Alain Remy, whose national team will play its matches in Ukraine, is sympathetic to some hiccups in the preparation process.
“The Ukrainian authorities are aware of the expectations of the fans that want to come to Ukraine. Preparations for Euro 2012 took many months and it was quite a new process and a new experience for Ukraine,” he said.
The French national football team will play its first match at Euro 2012 against England on June 10 in Donetsk.
“I would like to remind you that the French national football team is one of the two foreign teams that decided spontaneously to stay in Ukraine for the whole duration of the tournament.
“Recently I personally went to Donetsk so I could visit the future base and training facilities of the French team, which currently belongs to Shakhtar Donetsk, which has an excellent reputation in Europe. And I can tell you that this excellent reputation is well-deserved,” said Remy.
Although the stadium management company claims the arena is fully ready for the finals, some work is still being done.
In particular, UEFA officials complained about the poor quality of the pitch, so some grass patches are being replaced in order to meet the highest standards and requirements.