Tickets for Barcelona v Manchester United Europa League clash sold out in three hours

Blockbuster play-off battle will be played in front of full houses at Camp Nou and Old Trafford

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Barcelona put tickets on general sale for their forthcoming home Europa League play-off first leg against Manchester United at 11am last Wednesday. Three hours later, none of the tickets in the 21 sections advertised were available.

As with the game at OId Trafford, which saw over 100,000 fans waiting in an online queue, demand for tickets guaranteed that all tickets on sale went quickly, even for Europe’s biggest stadium with its vast capacity.

No tickets have been on sale since, but should any Barcelona season ticket holders return their tickets as they will not attend the game next Thursday, the Catalan club will put them on sale. Barcelona do expect to make more tickets available, likely a small number, in the forthcoming days because of returned tickets.

Tickets for the Camp Nou game on February 16 are more expensive than those for Old Trafford. A main stand seat costs €259, one behind the goal €139. Barcelona season ticket holders already have the ticket included at no extra charge. Manchester United season ticket holders pay extra for all cup matches.

The Catalan club have been extra strict about who they sell the tickets to, demanding proof of ID before online sales. This follows a change in the way Barca distribute tickets after an estimated 25,000 Eintracht Frankfurt fans bought tickets in home sections for last season’s Europa League last 16 match.

Barcelona were defeated and knocked out of the competition, with players and manager Xavi Hernandez complaining of German fans being all over the stadium in a wall of white. Barcelona were heavily criticised by their own fans for selling tickets to away fans and club president Joan Laporta vowed that it wouldn’t happen again.

Manchester United received an allocation of 4,200 tickets high on the third tier, which quickly sold out and there’s a waiting list, with fans travelling without tickets. The United tickets were priced just €45 – a third of the price of tickets for the same section in 2019 when the English club last played in Catalonia.

Uefa have since insisted on clubs capping the price of tickets for away fans in their competitions. Barcelona fans sold out of their section at Old Trafford for the second leg on February 23rd.

Initial construction work to Camp Nou before Barcelona moved out of their home next season while it is fully redeveloped means the capacity will be cut by 6,000 to around 94,000. No club in world football has average crowds as high as Barcelona’s 83,363 this season, with support surging for the side who top La Liga and Covid restrictions fully lifted.

Interest in the game is understandably high. Both teams are in fine form and both clubs can lay claim to being two of the biggest three football clubs in the world.

It’s their first meeting since the 2019 Champions League quarter final – won 4-0 on aggregate by Barca – and a first outside the Champions League since the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup final – which saw United come out on top 2-1 – in Rotterdam.

Updated: February 09, 2023, 1:26 PM