Real Madrid block Union Berlin fans from buying tickets online
All of the 3,840 tickets allocated to the German club were sold out in a few hours. Madrid want to avoid a repeat of what happened to Eintracht fans at Camp Nou.
On Wednesday, Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign gets underway with German side Union Berlin as guests at the Bernabéu. Such is the excitement among the fans of the Berlin-based club, that the entire allocation of almost 4,000 tickets (3,840 to be precise) sold out in just a few hours.
Since then, many Union Berlin fans have tried to buy tickets for other parts of the ground through Real Madrid’s official online ticket office. However that would mean occupying seats outside the zones reserved for travelling fans. To their surprise, many of them were not even able to access Madrid’s online store. German newspaper Bild claims that fans with a German IP on any device (computer, mobile, etc.) were automatically blocked and as a result, unable to buy a ticket for what will be an historic match - their Champions League debut against the tournament’s most successful club with 14 titles. The German club declined to comment on the matter.
Much of Real Madrid’s concerns is related to what happened at Camp Nou a couple of seasons ago. In April 2022, Eintracht Frankfurt faced Barcelona in the quarter final return leg. At that particular point of the season, Barça were struggling and that was reflected by poor attendance in many games with many seats vacant. Eintracht were only too please to fill those seats - around 30,000 German fans bought tickets to watch their team win the game 2-3 and advance to the semis. But not without incidents in the stands. Eintracht supporters had no problems in purchasing their tickets and cheer their players on to victory. The incident infuriated Joan Laporta, who told reporters: “I feel ashamed. This is very serious. We cannot avoid certain situations, but neither can we allow things like this to happen. We are collecting information from the ticketing and security services. I feel ashamed as a Barcelona fan and I regret what happened. This situation should not have occurred. It will never happen again.”
Fear that something similar could happen the following week in a Women’s Champions League match between Barça and Wolfsburg led the Catalan club to deliberately block German IPs as well as payments made by credit and debit cards from Germany.
UEFA tries to respect the decisions which clubs take as long as the safety protocol is respected, as happens in cases such as these. Real Madrid handed over the maximum number of tickets it could for a away fans’ section in the north end of the ground, which is still under construction. A lot of progress has been made compared to last season, when the ticket allocation to Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City fans was barely 1,800, which resulted in complaints from all three English clubs. They retaliated by giving the same number of tickets to Real Madrid for the home legs of their ties - all of which had to be raffled due to the huge demand.
UEFA estimates that each visiting team must receive 5% of stadium capacity for their fans. In the case of Real Madrid, as the stadium was under reconstruction, its capacity dropped to around 60,000. On top of that, some seats were withdrawn for security reasons. Last season, visiting fans barely reached 2,000 but little by little, everything is returning back to normal.