Wolves”http://www.bbc.co.uk/”behind closed doors’ Europa League game set for 5,000 crowd
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A crowd of around 5,000 is likely to attend Wolves’ Europa League match away to Slovan Bratislava on 24 October – even though it is officially being played behind closed doors.
Uefa sanctioned the Slovak champions after fans made racist chants in a play-off game against PAOK of Greece.
But Uefa rules will allow accompanied children aged 14 and under to attend.
In addition, 200 Wolves fans will be allowed in to see the game, providing they hold ‘category one tickets’.
Uefa ruled in August that Slovan must play their next two European games behind closed doors as a consequence of racist behaviour by their supporters at a play-off match against Greek side POAK Salonika.
Slovan appealed against the punishment but this was dismissed by Uefa on 9 October, meaning their game against Wolves would be covered by the sanction, which also included a 91,750 euro (£79,897) fine, part of which was for a lack of organisation at the PAOK game.
Uefa’s penalty will punish Slovan Bratislava financially; no matter how many people get in to see the game, no-one will have paid for their tickets.
Top-price tickets for the club’s home league matches are 20 euros (£17.50). With a stadium capacity of 22,500, it means Bratislava will be denied around £250,000.
However, Uefa also wanted to avoid a security issue.
Its view is that problems would occur if visiting fans were allowed into a game home supporters were prevented from attending.
This is why Wolves have no ticket allocation and fans such as Steve Bishop, who has not missed a game since 1976, face the prospect of missing out on this one.
But under Article 73 of Uefa’s regulations, accompanied children, aged 14 and under, from local schools and football academies can be invited.
Slovan placed a notice on their website this week requesting applications. One adult for every 10 children will be admitted. No drinks in glass or plastic bottles will be allowed into the ground.
The club had a similar scheme in operation for the first game of their closed-doors penalty, against Besiktas last month. Uefa said the crowd was ‘almost 5,000’.
It is assumed the majority of these ‘local’ children will be supporting the Slovak side.
Wolves will not be without any support though. Uefa’s Article 73 also states ‘a maximum of 200 people holding category one tickets from the visiting club or association and a maximum of 20 VIP guests’ will also be allowed to watch the game.
These tickets are – in general – allowed by Uefa for club partners and sponsors. However, Wolves have some flexibility in how they are allocated.
It means despite it being a closed-doors game, there is likely to be plenty of noise at a fixture that could play a big part in deciding who goes through from Group K.
Wolves are currently third, with three points from two games. Slovan Bratislava top the group with four points, ahead of Braga on goal difference.
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