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Euro 2012 primed to be England fans’ lowest turnout in years

England fans look set for a low turnout at Euro 2012 as concerns over their safety and welfare in Poland and Ukraine heightens in the build-up to the tournament.

The FA have sold only a small proportion of their allocated tickets for the group games through the official England membership scheme, yet the FA are hopeful around 10,000 England fans will travel to the tournament and purchase their tickets through UEFA’s general sale.

A BBC Panorama programme on racially motivated violence in Poland and Ukraine has given a late rise to fears for fan safety, especially as the programme featured former England defender Sol Campbell who urged fans 'not to take the risk and to watch the games on TV'.

Unfavourable costs

However, cost has also been highlighted as an issue for England fans as ticket, travel and accommodation costs entail a high liability for many who are struggling in the unfavourable national economic situation.

Kevin Miles of the Football Supporters’ Federation has suggested cost combined with the travel distances between venues and the unfavourable holiday destination in Ukraine as a more significant contributing factor to fans not going than fear of abuse.

“Unlike Germany and Portugal, Ukraine, and in particular Donetsk, is not what you’d class a holiday destination” Miles said.

“You might get the hot weather over there but other than sitting in the pubs all day there’s not much else to occupy your time with” he added.

Around 70,000 England fans joined the team at their last Euro tournament in Portugal in 2004; however this year’s host nations combined with the increasing apathy towards England games have put Euro 2012 in stark contrast to past events.

Bandits and crooks

Hotel prices have also been ramped up by astonishing amounts in the run up to the tournament, particularly in Ukraine.

UEFA President Michel Platini expressed his annoyance at this back in April, and agrees this could be a contributing factor in fans staying away:

“It's annoying to have made a lot of investment and then say to people that they can't come because there are bandits and crooks who want to make a lot of money during this euro” said Platini.

“You can't change [room prices] from €40 to €100 and then up to €500 just like that from one day to the other, this just is not done,” Platini added.

“I hope for Ukraine’s sake that the contracts which hoteliers have made will be respected as otherwise the people are not going to come."

By Richard Windsor 

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