Jürgen Klopp has backed the Liverpool supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly after it accused Uefa of hypocrisy for condemning the greed of Super League clubs while increasing its ticket revenue by 38% over the past four years.
The manager said he agreed “100,000%” and claimed: “Uefa are not the saints of football, they never were.”
Liverpool and Real Madrid have been allocated 19,618 tickets each for the Champions League final in Paris, priced at £50.32, £125.79, £410.91 and £578.63.
The two cheapest category tickets – amounting to about 15,500 seats per club - were discounted at the request of the semi-finalists, after Uefa had proposed offering 5,000 free tickets to each finalist. There is no reduction for over-65s, young adults (17-21) or juniors.
The finalists' allocation amounts to 52.3% of the Stade de France capacity on May 28th, which has been reduced to 75,000. Another 12,000 tickets will be allocated via a public ballot and the remaining 23,764 given to the Uefa "family" and corporate sponsors.
With tickets selling on resale sites for between £3,275 for one ballot ticket to £15,499 for a hospitality seat in a private suite, Spirit of Shankly has condemned Uefa, accusing it of fleecing fans and indulging sponsors.
In an open letter to European football’s governing body, SOS wrote: “Since 2018 when LFC last played Real Madrid in the final, Uefa’s ticket revenue has gone from €3.06m to €4.22m, which equates to a 38% increase in four years.
"In standing up to the failed Super League, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said: 'I can't understand how you can see your fans protesting and you don't care. You are full of money anyway, you're not poor, but you want more and more and more.' Well Mr Ceferin, Liverpool fans are protesting and you don't seem to care. Uefa are not poor, but you seem to want more. And more.
“Similarly, Uefa’s proposed changes to their club competitions in the future ignore the interests of the fans. Football supporters are tired of being ripped off. Tired of watching their team reach a final, but unable to find a ticket to attend. And tired of exorbitant prices. It’s time Uefa recognised the power of fans and the importance of fans above sponsorships.”
Klopp believes the ticket prices and allocation demonstrate a greed that pervades the football industry, from Fifa's decision to award a World Cup to Qatar to the proposed changes and expansion of the Champions League.
The Liverpool manager said: “We will talk in a few months that we have a World Cup in Qatar. How that could have happened? Nobody who made that decision at that time is still in charge but the World Cup is still there. It’s about money. Uefa are not the saints of football, they never were. What they have in the Champions League is a fantastic, fantastic product.
“If you would have asked me we never had to change that. But they lost a little bit of money here and there and the easy way to get it back is to increase the ticket prices.
“I understand 100,000% where Spirit of Shankly is coming from. It is absolutely not right but it happens everywhere. It doesn’t make it better, just in this specific case you are not only paying more than last time for a ticket but you only get 50% of the tickets and the rest goes to people who pay thousands and thousands for the tickets. That’s how all the money is made. The atmosphere, 20,000 reds are responsible for that. Do I like it? No. Will I change it? To talk about is right but you have to write about it too because most of us think the same.”
Uefa was approached for comment.