SPORTS AGENDA: UEFA's £500 tickets are a final insult

SPORTS AGENDA: UEFA’s £500 Champions League final tickets are an insult to supporters of Chelsea and Man City… and fears that Joel Glazer’s presence at a United fans’ forum will be nothing more than a PR exercise

  • Tickets to this weekend’s Champions League final are extremely expensive 
  • They will also have to shell out more than £200 for two Covid tests
  • Th pathetic vetting of questions is an increasing nuisance in Olympic sports

One minute UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is thanking English fans for the role they played in killing the break-away Super League, the next he is charging them more than £500 to watch a Champions League final.

And while many could only dream of witnessing their clubs in such a showpiece fixture, spare a thought for Manchester City and Chelsea supporters who — aside from the ludicrous ticket prices — will have to shell out more than £200 for two Covid tests before and after the final on Saturday.

The cheapest tickets were priced at £60 and it is understood they made up only 17 per cent of each club’s allocation.

UEFA is charging supporters more than £500 to watch a Champions League final

At a press conference on Saturday ahead of the Gateshead Diamond League meeting, journalists were requested to send in questions for Dina Asher-Smith. 

At least two asked if she was concerned her 100m rival, the American Sha’Carri Richardson, was coached by a doper — former US sprinter Dennis Mitchell. Despite the event running for half an hour, host Geoff Wightman instead chose a variety of softball questions from the list. 

This pathetic vetting is an increasing nuisance in Olympic sports. Ahead of last week’s UCI Track Champions League press conference, reporters were asked to fire questions in advance to the likes of Chris Hoy, the presidents of the UCI and the CEO of British Cycling. A query on the ongoing medical tribunal of disgraced ex-Team Sky and British Cycling doc Richard Freeman unsurprisingly failed to make the cut.

Burnley the bird sanctuary

The press box at Turf Moor is known for its views of the rows of terraced houses and rolling Pennine hills. Now it has also become a wildlife sanctuary.

At the Clarets’ home clash with Leeds, the BBC’s Conor McNamara took a video of a pigeon sitting on top of a nest behind the commentary box.

His colleague Guy Mowbray took a picture of the same bird a few days later at Burnley’s game against Liverpool.

Dyer one of the lucky ones

Danny Dyer was at West Ham’s final home match of the season on Sunday, leaving some who missed out to reflect that the EastEnders actor had done well to be selected in the ballot for the 10,000 seats available.

How can fans quiz Glazer?

Much has been made of Joel Glazer’s presence at a forthcoming Manchester United fans’ forum as the under-fire American owners try to undo the damage their involvement in the European Super League project has done to their already battered reputation.

However, supporters who wish to ask questions at the June 4 summit have been told they will need to submit them well in advance, leading to concerns the forum will be nothing more than a carefully-managed PR exercise.

United say the move is standard at every forum, regardless of attendees.

Joel Glazer (right) will be present at a forthcoming Manchester United fans’ forum

Thomas shamed 

The sacking of Chester racecourse chief executive Richard Thomas came after shareholders discovered a ‘six-figure sum’ was missing from the accounts. A company spokesperson said the dismissal related to the ‘authorisation of work, expenses and payment of invoices for a personal project’. 

The sacking marks a dramatic fall from grace for polo-playing, Range Rover-driving Thomas, who had worked his way up to the top job at the racecourse over two decades and was a well-known figure among the wealthy Cheshire set.

Fans who checked in at London Irish’s match against Exeter last week subsequently received an NHS alert telling them they needed to self-isolate.

Athletes happy to get vaccinated  

The British Olympic Association are confident take-up of the vaccine for athletes will be high, following the agreement reached with the International Olympic Committee and Pfizer. The BOA have held a series of athlete video calls in recent months, with the vaccine being the No 1 topic for the hundreds of athletes who have joined.

Team GB facilities unharmed by Covid

Despite a number of countries losing their training facilities for the Olympics due to Covid, Team GB are unaffected. Several host cities across Japan have ripped up agreements to provide pre-Games camps, with several areas still in a state of emergency.

But Team GB continue to get strong messages of support from their hosts in Yokohama and Kawasaki, who have even created a website to celebrate the British team’s impending arrival.

All bubbly over Ashton exit 

It is rare for an event that takes place away from the field of play to win a fans’ award at the end-of-season ‘do’ but that was the case at Bristol City, where supporters voted the departure of chief executive Mark Ashton as their Champagne Moment. Normally the gong goes to a wonder goal or man-of-the-match display, but fed-up Robins fans instead hailed Ashton’s exit to Ipswich.

There has been little to cheer this year at Ashton Gate, with City finishing down in a disappointing 19th place in the Championship table.

United ground staff the pick of the bunch again

There has been little cause for celebration at Old Trafford recently but Manchester United ground staff delivered some cheer by picking up the Premier League’s Grounds Team of the Season award. Tony Sinclair and his staff won for the fourth time in six years, chosen by referees and delegates.

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