Monday, August 8, 2022

Because of train strikes, football fans are giving away tickets for the semi-finals of the Women’s European Championship

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There are no trains leaving Milton Keynes on Wednesday evening when up to 30,000 fans are expected to watch the Germany v France game

Germany plays France on Wednesday evening. Up to 30,000 fans are expected to attend the 8pm game in Milton Keynes but supporters will have little public transport.

Football fans have told I They are trying to sell or give away their tickets for the semi-finals of the European Women’s Championship because of the national train strike.

The country’s rail network is expected to come to a virtual standstill as the RMT union goes on strike with Network Rail and says only a “very limited” service will operate, ending by 6.30pm.

That means fans may be able to catch a train from London if they leave before 5pm, but they won’t be able to bring one home.

James Doe, who lives in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, was due to take his nine-year-old daughter Rayanne with him but is now trying to give his tickets away for free.

“We were in London for some group games so I thought, ‘Milton Keynes isn’t too far away, we could come back every now and then,'” he said.

“But it was clear to me as soon as I saw the date of the strike. It’s really disappointing.”

UEFA is advising people not to use the trains at all, and fans are also being urged not to drive to the stadium as there is no parking.

Instead, UEFA suggests either going to Milton Keynes city center and using a free shuttle bus, or using a National Express bus service from London Victoria.

However, some fans said that when they went to National Express’ website today, the tickets were expensive at £32 each way and would not return to London until 00:30.

A spokesman for the company said the price should not be more than £16 each way, adding: “We have added additional capacity since the rail strike announcement to meet the extra demand, with some seats still available.

“All tickets have a standard price of £16 each way, which has not increased and is competitive compared to rail or car.”

Still, the situation has made fans look for alternative options.

Mr Doe, 47, runs a football listings website called The London Football Guide and says he has been in contact with a number of Germany fans in recent days who are also struggling to get to the game.

“We were going to go to a club together and take a cab, but in the end they cut their losses and went with the National Express option,” he said.

“I was also looking at a hotel and that’s going to be £100 so I’ve decided to give the tickets away if someone takes them.”

He added: “I would think there will be empty seats. A lot of German fans have complained that it’s difficult to get there.”

Another fan, who asked not to be named, said he was trying to sell two adult tickets and two child tickets at face value of £75 because he could no longer travel to the match.

“I wanted to go upstairs with my family, but I don’t have a car,” he said. “The National Express option offered is ridiculously expensive for the four of us so unfortunately I have to see if I can sell my tickets.

“It’s a real shame as we were looking forward to it.

“It looks like other people are in the same boat when it comes to selling tickets.”

Mr Doe believes more attention would have been paid to the issue had the strike affected a men’s game with a similar profile.

“Undoubtedly, no question,” he said. “It feels like nobody mentioned it at the moment.”

In response to the strike news earlier this month, Conservative MP and former Sport Secretary Tracey Crouch made a similar argument.

“I rarely come here to burn my bra but I’d bet it wouldn’t have happened during a major men’s football tournament, especially if it had involved a likely England game,” she tweeted.

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