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LIVERPOOL Mayor Joe Anderson said today his bid to get football fans to Kiev for the Reds’ clash with Real Madrid is “really not looking good” after he was unable to find a crew for a back-up plane.
Almost 1,000 fans face missing the game of a lifetime after operator Worldchoice Sports cancelled three flights because it did not have sufficient landing slots at Boryspil Airport.
Anderson said he was working with his Kiev counterpart — former boxer Vitali Klitschko — to find a solution for all those who face missing out.
He posted several messages on Twitter yesterday and Thursday promising he was trying to find a solution to the fiasco by sourcing a carrier to provide flights from John Lennon airport.
Around midday he tweeted a video of himself promising that he and his team were working really hard to find an airline with a spare aircraft.
But at 4pm 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."
Previously he said his office was in talks with a carrier that could possibly lay on two or three flights from Liverpool to Kiev on Saturday, arriving in the early evening.
He said: “The mayor [of Kiev] has said he will lay on transport to take people to the ground which is about 40 minutes away.”
Mr Anderson finished: “That’s what I’m hoping. I can’t confirm or promise anything 100 per cent.”
Liverpool said that anyone who bought match tickets direct from the club who was due to be on one of the cancelled flights would be able to claim a refund.
Worldchoice Sports said due to so many flights heading to Ukraine ahead of Liverpool’s meeting with Real Madrid, Boryspil Airport had been unable to allocate times for the three planes.
In a statement tweeted yesterday, it said it had been able to utilise one of the slots it had booked but it would have been on a different date and for three nights instead of one night.
“With no accommodation in Kiev being available it was decided that in such a short space of time it would not be possible to utilise this slot and risk the safety of our customers.”
Disappointed fans took to Twitter to express their disgust at the lack of information they had received.
Leah Robinson posted: “Arranging & selling overpriced flights before any guarantee that you could fly into Kiev in the first place. Scum bags!”
Kevin Frewen wrote: “Really poor, find another airport, subsidise them, make another option viable. The lengths fans have gone to and the cost is beyond what should be expected. There has to be another way to get those fans over.”
Some of the fans who did make it to Ukraine also had a bad time of it on Thursday evening.
Two fans were injured after a fight outside a Kiev cafe.
Footage posted online appears to show an organised group of around 10 Ukrainian fans charging at Liverpool supporters near the Olimpiyskiy Stadium.
District police chief Oleh Voloshin says police arrested “two people who took part in the fight” and helped two injured foreigners, but that all four refused to give any testimony.
Police didn’t specify the nationality of those involved in Thursday’s incident.
Ukrainian police say the two arrested people face fines and they have opened an investigation on a charge of “hooliganism” and are trying to identify and track down other participants in the fight.
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