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Football fans risk losing thousands of pounds booking illegal package holidays

With the Champions League and Europa League finals fast approaching, football fans will be thrilled to see four English teams in the finals. On 1 June 2019, Tottenham and Liverpool will be going head to head in Madrid, Spain, meanwhile, Chelsea and Arsenal fans will be looking to travel to Baku in Azerbaijan for the Europa League final on 29 May 2019.

More than 40,000 tickets to the finals will be sold to English fans – 32,000 for the Champions League in Madrid and 12,000 for the Europa League in Baku. Flights to Madrid are highly sought-after and transport to Baku in time for the final may involve transfers, trains, different airlines and potential stop-overs in Moscow, Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey. Unfortunately, unlawful travel agents may use the urgency to pressure travellers into purchasing unlawful or fake package deals.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority today launches its campaign to ensure that fans’ chances at witnessing an historic moment in sport are not ruined by the actions of companies falsely posing as legitimate travel agents. By booking their trip through a travel operator protected by ATOL, supporters will be able to pack peace of mind alongside their tickets to the finals.

Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: “The dedication and support of football fans is without question. As some of the most passionate fans in the world, seeing four English teams in the European finals make these matches a once in a lifetime opportunity for some. If fortunate enough to get a ticket, it is essential that travellers check for financial protection before booking their trips.

“Using a reputable travel company is essential but, above and beyond this, it is vitally important that your travel company offers ATOL financial protection when booking as a package.”

Always follow these top tips:

  • Look out for the ATOL logo – this is usually found on your travel company’s website, brochure or shop front.
  • Research the travel company to ensure their ATOL protection is legitimate
  • Watch out for hidden costs – luggage and transfer fees can very quickly add up.
  • Check for financial protection if booking with a non-UK based company – there are some non-UK travel companies which offer travel to UK consumers, but these will often not be ATOL protected. Do your research and check what financial protection they provide and, if in doubt, book using a credit card, ensuring you are protected up to the value of £30,000 under UK law.
  • If going to Baku, you will need a visa for the whole of your journey – this includes any stops-overs.


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