Donbass Arena opened on August 29th, 2009, and this week will host its first international and one of the biggest game’s in Ukraine’s history: the second-leg of their World Cup 2010 qualifier playoff against Greece. Ukraine are in great shape to qualify after a 0-0 draw in Athens this weekend.
The game could be taking place in no more beautiful setting.
Yet the 51,000 capacity stadium may not be as full as it has been since it opened in August, as huge crowds have cheered on Shakhtar Donetsk to a series of resounding victories since the stadium’s opening.
High ticket prices set by the Ukrainian Football Federation have caused an outcry ahead of Wednesday’s international, with Shakhtar Donetsk’s President Rinat Akhmetov yesterday writing an open letter to FFU President Grygoriy Surkis, accusing the FFU of greed and writing (in the official Donbass Arena’s site’s own translation) that “FFU has fixed incredibly high prices for tickets. I have been telling several times and I repeat once again that the supporters were treated, to put it mildly, badly. Moreover, we are facing the risk to see an empty stadium during this principally important match.”
Such beauty, such an important occasion. . .But a half-empty stadium?