Last week we asked Empty seats: What's the story? Why were there several clusters of empty seats at the France game? We promised to question UEFA and report back – and we've done just that.
A UEFA spokesman was keen to stress that all the tickets had indeed been sold for this match, so the empty seats were basically because of no-shows by ticket holders. The spokesman told us: “It could be that a group could have missed their flight connections, or that the travelling distances to the host cities are too far so they are unable to attend.
“Unless we have the specific seat and row numbers of the tickets we cannot say who did not turn up at the game, but given the empty seats were in the opposite end to England fans we suspect these were tickets unsold by the French federation which should have been returned to us, or they had been returned to us and resold locally – and for whatever reason these ticket holders were unable to make the match.”
However, another source from UEFA told us that the tickets may have been purchased by local ‘businessmen’ through a less-than-formal arrangement with a view to possible resale as part of a black market that turned out not to exist.
This theory would explain why there were a number of tickets on sale for less than face value outside the stadium. So, in short, unfortunately the reasons are still not 100% clear and we would like greater transparency on why a big match can be watched by a less-than-capacity crowd.
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