By Liam Twomey
Chelsea's ticket allocation for the Europa League final "beggars belief", according to the interim chair of the club's supporters' trust.
The Blues and their opponents Benfica have been given just 9,800 tickets apiece for the tournament showpiece, despite the Amsterdam Arena boasting a capacity of over 52,000.
This leaves over 30,000 seats to be distributed among the 'Uefa family', commercial partners and neutral supporters – something Tim Rolls believes is wrong.
"It's been on the Uefa website for months, so I knew in the back of my mind that we were only ever going to get about 10,000, but it still beggars belief," he told Goal.
"We get 9,800 and Benfica get 9,800. It's a 52,000 capacity stadium, so the 'Uefa family' are going to do very nicely out of it, aren’t they?
"In Munich we got 17-18,000 in a stadium that holds 80,000, so the ratio this time is even worse – all so the 'Uefa family' can make sure they’re looked after. For all sorts of reasons it's wrong.
"It'll be like Munich or Moscow – loads of blokes in suits wandering around having got off sponsors' coaches. They're not real football fans, they're just there because it's an occasion."
As many as 30,000 Chelsea fans could make the trip to Amsterdam regardless of whether they have tickets, and Rolls fears many will feel compelled to deal with ticket touts.
"Chelsea have around 20,000 season ticket holders. Half of them won't get tickets, and no one who is a member will, so if they want to go, that just leaves the black market," he added.
"But they shouldn’t have to pay four times the price. You look at some of these sites and the cheapest tickets are £400. It's sickening.
"It just seems wrong how many tickets end up in the hands of touts, having passed through either Uefa or sponsors or corporate people.
"These occasions seem to be seen not as occasions for the normal fan, but a celebration for the higher echelons of football and the wealthy, some of whom will sell their tickets on to people who actually want to go to the game, just to make a fast buck."
Rolls also fears the large corporate and neutral presence in Amsterdam will take the edge off the atmosphere of what will be Chelsea's second European final in as many years.
"I'm guessing Chelsea will get one end and Benfica the other. There will be Chelsea fans dotted around the middle too, but the atmosphere will not be what it could be," he continued.
"The TV companies always say how much they like atmosphere at football grounds, but something like this completely goes against it.
"I hoped when Platini came in that he'd be a breath of fresh air because he's played the game at the highest level, but he just seems to be as corporate as the rest of them."
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