Kiev Facebook group offers free couches to fans who can't afford hotel pricesComments
With some Kiev hotels charging thousands of euros for rooms on Champions League final night, residents of the Ukrainian capital have taken to social media to offer a more welcoming image of their city.
The Facebook group Kiev Free Couch offers free accommodation for supporters in a need of a place to stay and five thousand people have joined it since it was launched at the beginning of the month.
Victor Kylymar is the group's founder.
"I was shocked when I heard a person was offered a dental chair in a dental cabinet to rent," he said. "It's beyond sanity and common sense. It would be fine if it was offered for 10 euros or for free, but if I am not mistaken, it was offered for one or two hundred. That's just awful."
Some residents are offering lifts from the airport and home-cooked meals of borscht.
And with some 50 000 flooding into the city, even President Petro Poroshenko has reportedly offered to host a few fans to make up for the lack of affordable accommodation.
At Euronews, we spoke with some local Kiev residents who are opening their houses to Real Madrid and Liverpool fans.
Alex lives in the Pozdnyaky district, a 25-minute car ride from the stadium where the final will be played and will be hosting two Real Madrid supporters this weekend. He told Euronews that he read about the exorbitant prices foreign supporters would have to pay in hotels and private renting sites in May.
“It’s normal that during high season flight and hotels prices go up 2,3 or 4 times but not 4000%,” he said.
“A couple of months ago I read an article on the preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. I heard stories and saw adverts from people who were offering accommodation for absurd prices. I laughed thinking that those kinds of things were impossible in my country but I was wrong.”
Alex will host a Spanish couple that is studying in Vilnius, Lithuania, through an exchange programme. He picked them up from the airport, helped them buy a SIM card for their phones so they could have Internet and buy metro passes.
“I showed them around the neighborhood and explained to them how to get to the centre of the city from home and back,” he added.
“We have almost the same situation. Because of our love for traveling, my girlfriend and I spent almost all our vacations on adventures. We aren’t rich so I understand how hard it is to find decent accommodation for a good price, especially when all you need is a bed and a shower.”
“Ukraine is not a very attractive destination for tourists, and after this situation with accommodation, the lack of respect for human dignity is terrible. I don’t want for people coming here to feel rejected.”
Alex said that since he supports Manchester United he didn’t care about hosting fans from either team. He’ll watch the game from home while his guests will live the action from the stadium.
Katya Tsekhmister is hosting four Spanish journalists this weekend. She came up with the idea of opening her house to foreigners when her dad told her about the Facebook page initiative.
“I got very excited and also wanted to help so I advertised my room and found some fans,” she said.
Stanislav Strilets who’s hosting a Real Madrid supporter says that the Spanish took longer in finding the Facebook page than the English.
“I received a message from a Spanish man who told me his reservation had been cancelled and that he couldn’t find anywhere else to stay so I offered him to stay at my place. It’s not perfect but it’s close to the stadium and I’ll help with anything he might need.”
“I think Slavic people have a lot in common with people from the south so I hope everything will go well.”