Furious football fans say the tourism industry is profiteering from the Champions League final by ramping up prices for flights, tickets and accommodation.
Tottenham and Liverpool supporters complained of being charged more than £1,500 for non-stop return flights to Madrid with EasyJet to watch the match on June 1.
Those desperately searching for accommodation struggled to get a hotel room for less than £1,000.
Furious Liverpool fans have been faced with huge costs for the Champions League final
The cheapest room at the Hilton Madrid Airport hotel is £2,301, with the same room available for just £124 a week later.
Consumer website Moneysavingheroes found that small one-bedroom apartments on Airbnb were charging up to £2,500, with even the cheaper ones costing more than £1,000. Meanwhile, tickets were being sold on the black market for up to £90,000 – 1,800 times the face value of the £50 cheapest official tickets.
The backlash against EasyJet, which spread on social media yesterday, was spearheaded by Liverpool Metro mayor Steve Rotheram, who described the budget airline’s behaviour as ‘shameful’.
Liverpool fan Mr Rotheram said: ‘EasyJet hiking up prices by 683 per cent for return flights to Madrid is quite simply profiteering from the passion of football fans. This is nothing new but entirely shameful.’
His followers agreed, with one calling the prices ‘disgraceful’ and another saying they were ‘absolutely immoral’.
Tottenham fans were celebrating after beating Ajax, but may be hit hard in the pocket
Although Tottenham fans travelling from London have more options, on Thursday night EasyJet was quoting prices of as much as £1,500 for a flight from Gatwick to Madrid on the eve of the final, and returning the day after the match.
Responding to Mr Rotheram’s criticism, EasyJet said it had a ‘demand-led’ pricing structure and did not change its prices ‘artificially’.
Many fans are booking indirect flights to reduce costs, even though they face tortuous journeys. From Liverpool, one option costing £587 involves flying via Bucharest in Romania. The outbound journey takes 15 hours and the return takes 21 hours.
Anthoulla Achilleos, of the Tottenham Supporters’ Trust, said: ‘They need to put on more flights. The prices are ridiculous’.
Former Liverpool player Jim Beglin told EasyJet on Twitter: ‘You call it business. The punters call it nothing but pure greed.
‘Profits before people and it’s not just you, your kind are all at it. It’s a disgusting practice.’
Zavvi tweeted an apology but later deleted it as fans expressed their unhappiness
Thomas Cook Sport promised to come to the rescue and said it was organising flights for fans who have tickets to the game at a cost of £559 per person, with other airlines expected to follow suit. George Charles, spokesman for Moneysavingheroes, said fans will have to be more creative.
He suggested taking a ferry and driving instead of flying, and staying in a hostel or camping rather than ‘splashing out an extortionate amount of money on a hotel or Airbnb’. Mr Charles added: ‘A 90-minute game is not worth anyone going into debt for.’
Liverpool fans also expressed their fury after being told they had won VIP tickets to the final – only to then be informed it was a mistake.
Zavvi, an entertainment retail store formed from the now defunct Zavvi shops, accidentally sent the ‘winner’ emails to everyone on its mailing list.
Hoddle’s leap of faith
As his beloved Tottenham Hotspur secured a dramatic last-minute Champions League semi-final win, friends and family of former manager Glenn Hoddle might have feared for his health.
Hoddle could be seen leaping from his seat in the BT Sport studio and being grabbed by fellow pundit Rio Ferdinand as Lucas Moura scored the winning goal for Spurs against Ajax.
He suffered a near-fatal heart attack last November while working for the same TV company.
Glenn Hoddle watched on as his beloved Tottenham beat Ajax against the odds
As Spurs secured a place in next month’s Champion’s League final against Liverpool on Wednesday night, BT Sport presenter Gary Lineker asked Hoddle if he was ‘alright’ after watching the game’s dramatic finale.
A smiling Hoddle replied: ‘Yeah I am fine. I’ve never been happier. I am so glad I am still around to see this. Being a Spurs fan from eight years of age – what a proud moment.’
One expert said he would not be surprised if some Tottenham and Ajax fans suffered cardiac arrests both at home and abroad as they watched the thrilling finale of the Champions League semi-final.
Dr Alexander Lyon, a senior lecturer and honorary consultant cardiologist at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital, is a lifelong Spurs fan and watched the last minute victory over Ajax.
He has researched how traumatic or stressful events can cause heart problems.
‘Such was the nature of the game and the dramatic ending, that would not surprise me,’ he said on Thursday.
Dr Lyon said Hoddle’s health may in fact have been improved after last year’s heart scare.
He said: ‘Obviously Glenn Hoddle had a heart attack after he suffered blockages of the arteries.
Hoddle recently had time off after recovering from a near-fatal heart attack in November
Fellow pundits Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand joked about Hoddle following the celebration
‘But having had his own heart attack it may well be that watching his beloved Spurs last night he might have been able to cope better which is a really good sign.
‘This is because after suffering such a serious illness he was able to cope better because of the medication he would have undoubtedly been given since his cardiac arrest.
‘For Glenn it would have been an exhilarating roller coaster ride watching his beloved Tottenham win the match.’
A study of the World Cup in Germany in 2006 revealed there was massive increases in the number of heart attacks during exciting matches and penalty shoot-outs.
The German study revealed that 4,279 people suffered acute cardiovascular events during time periods researched with 302 of these events occurring over the seven days that Germany had World Cup matches.