Euro 2012 - Fears grow over absent England fans at Euro 2012
A supporters group has warned that England will be followed by the fewest number of fans "in recent history" at Euro 2012.
It is feared that just 3,000 England supporters will brave the trip to Ukraine, with concerns over hotel prices, travel plans and financial restrictions resulting from the recession all convincing fans to stay away.
England can usually count on their games at major tournaments being oversubscribed, yet tickets are still available for their three group games at the finals.
The Daily Mirror reports that less than half of the 7,800 allocated tickets at Shakhtar Donetsk's 52,518-capacity Donbass Arena have been sold for the games against France on June 11 and Ukraine on June 19.
England also play Sweden in Kiev on June 15, and according to the Mirror no game will feature more than 3,000 England fans, meaning organisers face risking the embarrassment of seeing empty seats at the prestigious event.
Kevin Miles, a spokesman for the Football Supporters Federation, told the Mirror: “Even the fans who regularly travel are not bothering.
“The practical difficulties of getting there, travelling between the venues, the high cost of accommodation and the economic situation have combined to hit ticket sales.
“The first game, France v England in Donetsk, is the one they are having real problems selling tickets for. The Sweden game is better because that is on a Friday, but overall there will be fewer England fans than at any Euro tournament in recent history.”
UEFA has previously expressed concern over escalating hotel prices in Ukraine but has been unable to reverse the trend ahead of the finals which begin on June 8.