With the Seville Fair just finished, the city is getting ready to receive another huge wave of visitors, estimated at 100,000 to 150,000 for the final of the Europa League. Rather than just one crowd, this is two, both from the colder parts of Europe - the white multitude are from Frankfurt, the dark blue crowd hail from Glasgow. A heap of them are already wandering the streets, bars and restaurants of the Andalusian capital, even more are on their way. As Seville airport can’t cope with so many, they are coming through Malaga, Faro, Gibraltar and even Madrid, completing the trip by hire car, taxi or train. A storm of northern fans, who will spend some 60 million euros ($63.3 million) in the city, according to the city council.
Spanish teams fail to get to the final of the Europa League
Who knows if Sevilla could have been here, playing their favourite tournament in their own city. Or Betis, who recently won the Copa del Rey. Or Barcelona, who were one of the favourites once they were knocked out of the Champions League, but stumbled on the night they gave their stadium over to the happy bunch dressed in white from Eintracht no less, all for a measly three million euros. But none of them are here. It’s German and Scottish fans who will be baking today in 42 degrees in Seville. To cope they’ll turn to beer, football’s preferred drink. And that’s worrying, because both sets of fans, particularly Rangers, have been involved in incidents in the past. Around 5,500 police officers have been drafted in for the occasion.
Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers descend on Seville
Seville experienced something similar in 2003, with the final between Celtic and Porto, with 100,000 visitors, so it’s nothing new for the city. And the authorities have taken the sensible step of putting the fan-zones far apart, one in La Cartuja, the other on the Prado de San Sebastián. But I’m sure there’ll be more than one sigh of relief when the last fan has headed off tomorrow to their point of origin. Afterwards it’ll be time to count the cash, pots of it, but also to repair what’s been broken and clean what’s been made mucky. Football is beautiful on the pitch, but less so when drunken hordes indulge in wanton rowdiness.