Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Chelsea get low ticket allocation for Europa League final, but Rafa Benitez is just happy to get there

David Luiz of Chelsea celebrates as he scores their third goal during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England
David Luiz of Chelsea celebrates as he scores their third goal during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England

Chelsea fans face a struggle to get tickets for their club’s Europa League final against Benfica in Amsterdam in 12 days’ time after Uefa announced last night that the club have been given an allocation of just 9,800 in a stadium that holds more than 52,000 spectators.

Having beaten Basle 3-1 last night with goals from Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and David Luiz, the club broke the bad news on their website to supporters who had hoped to get tickets for the game in the Amsterdam Area, home of Ajax. The club say they are powerless to help, with the decision made by Uefa who are expected to distribute the majority of their tickets to the “Uefa family”.

Already last night tickets were on sale online for £250 and the price is expected to climb steeply. The cheapest tickets made available to Chelsea fans will be £39, with the most expensive priced at £117. The club is estimated to have more than 24,000 season ticket holders.

As for Rafa Benitez, who is in his fourth European final across his time at Valencia, Liverpool and his current job, there was a brief call for the hostile Chelsea support to acknowledge the progress of his team. He said: “We're doing our jobs as professionals. Since the talk at Middlesbrough [27 February], I think we've won 11 of 13 games at home, which is quite good. We are doing our job. Hopefully a lot of them, they will appreciate that.”

He added: “I said before, and I can keep saying the same, with all the circumstances that were around at the beginning: the situation with the squad, and being without Demba Ba, a squad in transition, we were doing a good job. We were professional trying to improve things without much time, and we did well. Hopefully we can finish even better.”

“I'm really pleased to be there [in the final]. We've worked so hard during the year to be in finals and semi-finals, and now we're in another final. The players deserve to be there.

“I'm really pleased for the players and everyone here. It's an opportunity for the club. It'll be tough because Benfica are a really good team and hard to play against, but at least we are there. With the commitment and the quality, we'll have a chance for sure.”