West Ham will be hoping to put their challenging Premier League season to one side next month when they face Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final.
David Moyes’s men will take on the Italian team on 7 June following a torried domestic campaign during which they spent several weeks in the relegation zone. But despite briefly facing the prospect of a return to the Championship, the Hammers have beaten several big teams en route to their Prague final. These have included Belgian top flight teams Anderlecht and Gent, as well as Dutch side AZ Alkmaar - whom they beat in the ECL semi-final on 18 May.
The East London side’s final will mean England has two teams vying for European honours this season. Man City will take on Inter Milan in Istanbul, Turkey three days before West Ham takes to the pitch in Czechia.
Fans hoping to travel to the club’s first major European final since 1965 will face stiff competition to get hold of the 5,780 tickets on offer for the fixture. It means scammers could try to take advantage of the high demand to defraud the Hammers’ supporters.
So, if you’re a West Ham fan hoping to make it to Prague for the historical fixture, how can you avoid being scammed when seeking out tickets? Here’s what you need to know.
How can you get Europa Conference League final tickets?
Fans have to have an access code that has been granted by West Ham in order to access tickets to the Europa Conference League final. The tickets will then be sold through the UEFA website.
The sale began on Monday (22 May). Different supporter groups will have access to the pool of tickets at different times. Bondholders were able to access them until midday on Tuesday (23 May).
Fans signed up to West Ham’s away scheme or season ticket holders who have 63 points or more can get hold of tickets until 9am on Wednesday (24 May). Those with 52 points or more will then have access until 1pm on Thursday (25 May), and those with at least 31 points will then get access until 9am on Friday (26 May).
If any tickets are left, West Ham will open up the tickets to other away scheme or season ticket holder members until they are sold out. Given the small number of tickets available, it is unlikely they will go on general sale.
How much are Europa Conference League final tickets?
The UEFA website lists four categories of ticket pricing for the fixture. You can also opt for a standard ticket, or one that will provide you with a seat that has a restricted view. Here are the prices (all in Euros):
- Category 1: €125 (€100 for restricted view)
- Category 2: €85 (€65 for a restricted view)
- Category 3: €45 (€35 for a restricted view)
- Category 4: €25 (€20 for a restricted view)
Wheelchair users will be able to purchase tickets at the Category 4 standard price. They will not have a restricted view.
How can you avoid ticket fraud?
The first thing to note with Europa Conference League final tickets is that there will be no paper tickets. The fixture will only have digital versions on UEFA’s ticketing app that can be used to access the ground. It means any physical tickets you see are highly likely to be fakes.
City of London Police’s UK-wide anti-scams force Action Fraud has provided five key tips for how to avoid fraud. It is part of a summer campaign intended to make sure people don’t lose their hard-earned cash to criminals when attempting to go along to major events. Here are five tips for how to safeguard yourself from ticket scams:
- Only buy tickets from officially-run box offices, or via an official promoter, agent, or ticketing website.
- Don’t pay for tickets by doing a bank transfer. This is particularly important if you don’t know the person you’re buying the tickets from. Even if you’re sure the tickets aren’t fakes, you should use a credit card or a payment service, like PayPal, when making your purchase. Both methods offer some consumer protections that may allow you to recoup your money if the tickets turn out to be fake.
- Set different passwords for different accounts. For example, your email password should be totally different from the one you use for your football club’s ticketing site. Action Fraud recommends using at least three random words to create a memorable but uncrackable password, and to activate two-step verification on all of your accounts.
- Be wary of random emails, texts or adverts offering ticket deals that seem to be too good to be true.
- Check whether the firm you’re buying your tickets from is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). If they are a part of STAR, they will have to abide by strict criteria. So, if you buy a ticket that turns out to be fake through a STAR retailer, you should be able to get your money back.
A separate recommendation is to make sure the website you’re using has strong levels of consumer protection at the checkout. Payment services provider Takepayments says you can see the ticketing website is legitimate and secure if it asks you for two levels of authorisation before you make a purchase with them - e.g. a one-time passcode (OTP).