Blackpool fans left disappointed as extra tickets are made available for Championship play-off final - but not League One version
Blackpool fans have been left disappointed after extra tickets were made available for the Championship play-off final - but not the League One version.
In a statement released this evening, the EFL confirmed 2,000 extra tickets are to be made available to fans of Brentford and Swansea City, who will battle it out at Wembley on Saturday for a place in the Premier League, as part of an NHS app trial.
It means 12,000 fans will be able to attend the Championship showpiece, but only 10,000 supporters will be permitted to attend the League One and League Two versions, in line with the government’s Covid restrictions.
This has caused anger among supporters of those four clubs involved, which includes Blackpool.
The Seasiders take on Lincoln City in Sunday’s League One play-off final, with each side limited to just under 4,000 tickets each. The remaining tickets have been allocated to sponsors and delegates, although a limited number of these could be returned to the clubs should they not be taken up - although this has yet to be confirmed.
Morecambe and Newport County face off in Monday’s League Two play-off final.
It’s understood, however, that the EFL did request the NHS app trial should also apply for the League One and Two finals, but that request was knocked back.
The EFL said in a statement: “An extra 2,000 tickets will be available to supporters of Brentford and Swansea City for Saturday’s Championship play-off final as part of an NHS trial.
“The extra allocation takes the limited capacity for Saturday’s showpiece final to 12,000, with 10,000 tickets distributed directly to clubs.
“Club ticket allocations for this weekend’s finals are proportionately greater than pre-COVID finals with almost 85 per cent now allocated for clubs to sell in the Championship final and 80 per cent capacity in League One and Two Finals.
“The remaining allocation is split between Club Wembley, event organisers and sponsors. In line with contractual arrangements, EFL sponsors and partners - who have all remained steadfast in their support throughout the pandemic - will receive approximately five per cent of the allocation, with any unused tickets being passed to clubs.
“The EFL lobbied hard to ensure the play-off semi-finals all had fans in attendance and had requested the finals to be part of the government’s Event Research Programme (ERP).
“Ultimately this did not prove possible, so in line with Step 3 government guidance the finals will be restricted to 10,000 for League One and Two, and 12,000 for the Championship, with the latter as part of the NHS App trial.
“1,000 additional tickets per club will be made available to supporters of Brentford and Swansea City exclusively, with further details on how to apply for tickets available via each club’s respective websites.”
Supporters of the six clubs involved in this season’s play-offs have already raised issue with the restricted 10,000 allocation, given the finals will be played at Wembley which has a capacity of 90,000.
It comes after 22,000 fans were permitted to attend the recent FA Cup final between Leicester City and Chelsea, which was part of an official test event.
An EFL spokesperson said: “Having moved our play-off schedule to align with the government’s move to Step 3 protocols and enable fans to attend, we look forward to welcoming supporters back to Wembley at the eagerly anticipated play-off finals, after a season behind closed doors.
“While the small increase in the Championship final is welcome, we would of course have preferred to admit fans in much greater numbers, but like other public events are subject to the government’s Step 3 guidance.
“Unfortunately, the play-offs were not selected to operate as a pilot event as part of the government’s Events Research Programme - despite a request from the EFL on behalf of the clubs involved and their supporters – which meant that achieving significantly greater capacities at all three finals was not possible.
“The EFL shares the disappointment of the clubs and their supporters that many fans will be absent but we will continue to liaise with the government in the coming weeks as we pursue our aspiration of a return to full stadia for the start of next season.”
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