Seville was poised to celebrate a football fiesta yesterday as up to 100,000 Rangers fans start to arrive for the Europa League Final.
At least 60,000 Eintracht Frankfurt supporters are also expected to travel for the big game on Wednesday with advance parties of fans already arriving in the Spanish city.
If they haven’t booked a room, they will be struggling to find one now with the city’s hotels booked out and any that aren’t charging up to £600 a night. Manuel Cornax, president of the Seville Hotel Association, said: “The hotels will be full and we expect to make about €¤60 million (£51m).”
Tickets for the game are even scarcer than hotel rooms with travelling but ticketless Rangers fans being invited to watch Wednesday’s showdown against Eintracht Frankfurt in the 60,000-capacity Seville stadium where Celtic lost the 2003 Uefa Cup final.
The Ibrox club confirmed negotiations with Uefa, Spanish police and city authorities had led to the organisation of a fans’ viewing area in Estadio La Cartuja.
The British Embassy said: “We are working with local authorities, including the Spanish police, the city council, travel operators and Uefa to ensure the safety of visiting UK nationals.
“We encourage all those visiting to check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice on gov.uk and sign up for alerts.”
Sara Maes, a journalist who works for Seville FC, said most people were looking forward to the city’s biggest match in years.
“We are preparing for a big party,” she said.
She said the final would bring a huge economic boost for the city which suffered badly during the pandemic because many businesses depend on tourism.
The Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium has a capacity of just 43,000, a relatively small venue to host a major final while the trophy will be on show before the match.
Football pitches will be set up in Plaza Espana, one of the most popular tourist sites, to keep fans busy before the game and two giant replicas of the trophy – each 8ft high – will allow fans to take souvenir selfies.
Each club has an allocation of 9,500 tickets for the match but desperate fans who have not secured a gold-dust ticket are facing prices of £1,600.
Claudia Dobler, a German tour guide who has lived in Spain for 20 years, said she had received calls from Germans begging for tickets.
There was also a frantic hunt for somewhere to stay. “A friend rented out his apartment for two nights for £1,705,” she said.
Rangers fans are booking planes, trains and automobiles to get them to the city with supporters taking to social media to describe their inventive routes.
Steven Little said he was driving to Manchester before flying to Malaga then getting the train from Malaga to Seville.
He wrote: “Do it all in reverse the day after the game. Any Rangers fans getting the train through from Malaga to Seville should book it now. Trains are nearly all fully booked.”
Steven Urquhart said he was going to the match from his stag do in Benidorm with 10 pals. He wrote: “Now trying to book buses from Ibrox bar to Seville.
“And now my son who is 13 is gatecrashing my stag do on the Tuesday night.”
Fiona Ryden wrote: “Glasgow to London on Tuesday. London to Malaga Wednesday then hiring a car. Need to leave at 2am to make it back to Malaga then back to Paris. Then Paris to London then train back to Glasgow.”
Some fans faced disappointment over making the trip as chartered flights set to jet hundreds to Seville were cancelled when prices rocketed by £100,000. A dramatic increase saw one chartered plane direct to the host city – originally priced at £125,000 on May 6 – soared to £230,000 in three days.
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