Liverpool say they will offer ticket refunds to fans whose travel plans to the Champions League final have been disrupted by cancelled flights to Kiev, Ukraine.
The city’s two airports have been unable to accommodate a rush of extra charter flights, leading British travel operator Worldchoice Sports to cancel three flights on Thursday, leaving about 650 Liverpool fans stranded.
Despite the efforts of the club and Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson to find alternatives, only one flight was able to be rescheduled.
And the club said those who provide their unused ticket, as well as confirmation of the ticket’s purchase and flight cancellation, will be eligible for refunds.
Jordan Henderson lamented the situation at Friday’s news conference, sayin: “It’s obviously disappointing. Difficult for them now to try to get over so we are disappointed for them they cannot come and make the final. Hopefully they can find an alternative route but, if they can’t, I am sure they will support us back in Liverpool.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp added: “The club is trying as much as they can to find any solution to fix these things. We don’t have too much time but we try everything to bring everyone over to Kiev.”
Anderson said he was “working really hard” with his counterpart in Kiev — former boxer Vitali Klitschko — to find a solution for all those who face missing out, but sent an update on Wednesday afternoon saying he was “gutted” he was unable to find a solution.
“Hugely disappointed that our efforts to sort #LFC fan flights has not worked. [Klitschko and] airport directors did all possible with landing slots and planes but not able to get over the line,” he wrote on Twitter. “Frustrated by utter shambles faced by loyal fans.”
He added: “The company has said it can’t resolve it, we have to respect that. Gutted we got so close.”
Anderson posted several messages on Twitter on Thursday and Friday promising he was trying to find a solution to the fiasco by sourcing a carrier to provide flights from John Lennon airport.
Around midday on Friday he tweeted a video of himself promising that he and his team were working to find an airline with a spare aircraft. But at 4 p.m. he was forced to admit that a plan he had hatched with Klitschko looked domed to failure.
He said: “No final decision yet but really not looking good — unable to resolve flight situation. With support of @Vitaliy_Klychko, #Kievairport & carrier we had plane & landing slot but crew were coming from the USA and crew rest time a huge barrier. Time against us.”
Liverpool fan Jason McGimpsey told Press Association that Worldchoice had also offered refunds on the travel packages, “but it doesn’t go anywhere near compensating me for what I’ve lost… This was the biggest game of my life.”