Champions League: Liverpool fans' Kiev flights cancelled

image copyrightWorld Choice Sports
image captionThe update posted on the Worldchoice Sports website spoke of the firm's "deep regret"

Hundreds of Liverpool fans have been left stranded after flights to the Champions League final were cancelled.

Operator Worldchoice Sports said it could not secure landing slots at Kiev's Boryspil Airport for three planes but it said it has secured an extra last minute three-night trip.

Disappointed fans, who had paid up to £1,000 each for flights, were frantically trying to make alternative arrangements.

Liverpool face Real Madrid on Saturday.

Asif Badat, aged 32, from Leeds, is among those who fear being stranded in the UK despite having match tickets.

"As recently as this morning we were being given assurances about our tickets and then suddenly the flights were cancelled," he said.

"I'm now considering flying to Romania and driving 10 hours from there."

In its statement, Widnes-based Worldchoice Sports said it would start to issue refunds from Friday.

It said passengers would be notified by email.

Liverpool FC said about 1,000 fans were involved and believed the issue was caused by a dispute over the size of aircraft.

The club said it would work with authorities until all avenues to get fans to the game had been exhausted.

Worried Reds fans had shared concerns on Twitter before Worldchoice Sports issued a statement on its website at 15:00 BST on Thursday announcing the cancellations.

It said talks with authorities in Kiev, police and UEFA had not been able to find a resolution to a lack of landing slots.

image copyrightEPA
image captionThe Liverpool squad has arrived in Kiev

City mayor Joe Anderson later said he had secured landing slots in Kiev for two planes.

Mr Anderson said he negotiated an agreement with Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko - a former world heavyweight boxing champion - in a series of phone calls.

But a second statement from Worldchoice, issued at 20:00 BST, said the additional three-night trip was the the only flight the company was able to secure.

"With deep regret we cannot get a flight on 26 May from Liverpool or Manchester. Unfortunately we cannot put you on any other flights," the company said.

image captionJoe Anderson said he secured slots at Kiev's Boryspil Airport

The mayor tweeted that he was "frustrated and angry" for the fans.

"I can tell you I had six long calls today and sorted out slots for two planes to land. The airline said they could go ahead, so what's happened? Over to you Worldchoice," he said.

Worldchoice Sports' website said the firm had "worked extremely hard over the last 48 hours trying to resolve these issues".

"We have exhausted all avenues to try and get landing slots. We have applied for slots in the correct manner and timeframe with the authorities."

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