By Richard Martin
KIEV (Reuters) – Real Madrid have returned 1,000 tickets for Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool after failing to sell them, UEFA’s president Aleksander Ceferin said on Thursday, adding the organisation had cancelled tickets sold on the black market.
The remaining tickets for the final in Kiev would be sold to locals, a media officer for European soccer’s governing body told Reuters. Ceferin ruled out selling them to Liverpool supporters on security grounds.
Madrid said 24,268 club members applied for their 17,000 tickets for Zinedine Zidane’s side’s third consecutive Champions League final and they were distributed after a ballot of club members.
But a number of supporters returned their tickets given the cost and the challenge of getting to the Ukrainian capital.
Liverpool have filled their allocation for their first Champions League final appearance since 2007.
“Unfortunately security reasons prevent us from selling these tickets to Liverpool, it would be too much of a risk,” Ceferin told reporters after an executive committee meeting on Thursday in Kiev.
“We have a good and fair distribution system, 17,000 each to fans of Liverpool and Real Madrid. We distribute more than 70 percent of tickets to football fans and on the black market we have a system in place (to stop tickets being sold).
“It’s a big problem that we know about. We cancelled tickets that were on the black market….we are trying to do as much as possible. There are still people selling tickets and we are looking to correct that.”
Liverpool’s chief executive Peter Moore criticised UEFA for choosing Kiev to host the final.
“To call it a challenging location would be an under-statement and I’ve had discussions all the way to the top of UEFA about it,” Moore told the Liverpool Echo newspaper.
“They just don’t have the airport infrastructure and the hotel capacity to cope with an event of this size and there isn’t another major city within real hitting distance of it. It’s not only affected Liverpool fans but Real Madrid fans too.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Keith Weir)