The true cost of the road to Kiev exposed

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando

After stinking out the past few international tournaments they’ve qualified for, England’s association football team aren’t expected to set the world alight at this years’ Euopean Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

Getting out of a group which includes France, co-hosts Ukraine and Sweden is a tall order in itself, let alone beating top sides like Germany, Italy, Holland and reigning world and European champions Spain. Expectations are at an all-time low.

This might be a good thing, because Virgin Money have handily calculated the price of getting to the final for your average fan, and it’s not cheap. In fact, fans will need to spend about £4,400 to get to the final in Kiev in June, going on the costs on a three-night hotel stay, flights, food and drink, tickets and a new replica shirt for the tournament. That's around one sixtieth of Wayne Rooney’s £250,000 weekly wage packet at Manchester United.

Getting through all three Group D games against France, Sweden and the Ukraine will cost England fans around £2,122, with the opening match against France in Donetsk costing around £819. That’s a lot of money to endure the eye-bleeding, hit-and-hope fayre usually served up by ‘JT,’ ‘Stevie G’ and the boys, not to mention having to listen to the England Band parp out the music from ‘The Great Escape’ on their ruddy trumpets for 90 minutes.

n fact, there’s been a dismal take-up of tickets so far. Early reports suggest only around 6,000 of the 30,000 tickets available to England fans have been sold, with governing body UEFA warning about profiteering in Ukraine and potentially empty venues.

Simon Hall, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: "Some fans might say that seeing England lift the Euro 2012 trophy would be priceless. But the costs will certainly mount up if - against the odds - England do make the final. To keep costs down, fans need to make sure they aim to get the best deals possible. A first Euro Championship win for England will last forever, but you don't want the debts to last forever as well." It’s just as well that England will do their customary thing and limp out at the quarter finals then, isn’t it?