Fan group criticizes Real Madrid over Liverpool ticket quota

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Real Madrid was criticized Friday by the UEFA-recognized group representing European soccer fans for allocating Liverpool too few tickets for the teams' Champions League round-of-16 game.

Liverpool fans have a quota of 1,800 seats for the March 15 second-leg game in Madrid instead of at least 3,000 mandated by UEFA’s Champions League rules.

Madrid has cited long-running construction work to remodel its Santiago Bernabéu Stadium where the biggest attendance this season has been under 63,000.

“Liverpool FC should be provided with 3,500 tickets for this game and not the punitive total of 1,800,” said Football Supporters Europe, which UEFA consults on fan issues.

The statement was co-signed by two Liverpool fan groups and the Spain-based Accionistas y Socios del Fútbol Español.

“It is entirely unacceptable for a club to openly disregard UEFA regulations as well as its responsibility to supporters in this manner,” the statement said. “Real Madrid has been allowed to operate with a reduced allocation for too long.”

The fan groups said Madrid had an obligation to follow Champions League rules regardless of “local police advice,” which the club has cited.

Article 38 of Champions League regulations state: “Home clubs must make at least 5% of the total approved UEFA capacity of their stadium available exclusively to visiting supporters, in a segregated, safe area.” The rules also cap the ticket price for away fans at 70 euros ($76).

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The Associated Press