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Uefa: Athens stadium wasn’t built for football

May 11 2007

by Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo

 

The Olympic Stadium, Athens

UEFA today admitted the stadium chosen to host the Champions League final was “not designed for football.”

Front rows in Athens will be empty on May 23 because of advertising hoardings, adding to a ticket scandal that will mean thousands of Liverpool fans missing the match.

Only 17,000 seats have been allocated each to the Reds and Milan for the 63,000-capacity stadium.

Rob Faulkner, Uefa’s director of communications, confirmed around 6,000 seats had been lost to sponsorship hoardings because revolving boards would restrict views.

He said: “The ads go around the pitch, and because the angle of the pitch is low, people wouldn’t be able to see the pitch.

“This stadium was not designed for football.”

The venue was constructed for the Olympics in Athens in 2004 and designed with athletics in mind.

One Uefa source said: “The stadium was built only a few years ago, and things like this weren’t taken into consideration.

“It’s good for track and field, but the Champions League final is a completely different story.

“We almost have to rebuild part of the stadium.”

Uefa told the ECHO on Wednesday that Liverpool had “done well” to get 17,000 tickets and Mr Faulkner supported the claim.

He said the 9,000 tickets sold to all-comers in February would help Greek hosts enjoy the occasion.

He said: “They are the host country who are proud to stage the final, and there are people in Greece who want to see big clubs like Liverpool and Milan.

“We are trying to cater for everyone, but it’s impossible to satisfy the demand.”

Reds fans have hit out at the “paltry” 16 disabled seats given to Liverpool supporters, but Uefa said the figure was calculated on previous final allocations.

Mr Faulkner said: “We work on previous experiences, so if a club tells us they have a particular need for an increased disabled allocation, we try to meet that request.

luketraynor@liverpoolecho.co.uk

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