Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 16:00 UK

Big screens for ticketless fans

Rangers fans in Lisbon
Thousands of Rangers fans are set to travel to Manchester for the game

Football fans who do not have tickets for the Uefa Cup final in Manchester next week will be able to watch the game on big screens around the city.

Up to 100,000 supporters are expected in the city for the Glasgow Rangers v Zenit St Petersburg match at the City of Manchester stadium on 14 May.

However, the stadium only has room for 47,000 spectators.

Screens will be sited in Piccadilly Gardens and Albert Square. There will be no screens at or near the stadium.

Uefa has allocated 13,000 tickets to Russian fans and a similar number to Rangers, although tens of thousands are still expected to make the trip from Glasgow.

Manchester City Council's spokesman on the city centre, Councillor Pat Karney, said: "In the light of Rangers qualifying for the final and the massive reported demand from fans for bigger and better provision, we've arranged for big outdoor screens for fans to watch the match."

Entertainment, food and drink is also being made available in dedicated fan zones for supporters in locations including Albert Square and Piccadilly Gardens.

As well as the fan zones, there will be a series of three-a-side football tournaments in Castlefield and shuttle buses from the city centre to the stadium.

"I'm confident that Manchester will give a very warm welcome to fans from Rangers and from Zenit and that all fans will have a fabulous day," added Mr Karney.

People I have spoken to said they are going to Manchester to make it the friendly final
Jim Templeton,
Rangers Supporters Assembly

Train and plane operators said there had been a rush for tickets between Glasgow and Manchester next week.

Flybe said that ticket sales on its Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast to Manchester flights between 12 and 14 May had risen by 50%.

Virgin Trains said that all reservable seats were fully booked on 13 and 14 May from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Preston, Lancashire, where Manchester passengers change trains.

Rangers supporters welcomed the announcement that the match is to be shown on outdoor screens in Manchester.

Jim Templeton, president of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, said: "This is good news for Rangers fans and we appreciate the announcement by Manchester City Council.

"People I have spoken to said they are going to Manchester to make it the friendly final.

"We're going there to celebrate our team's achievement and have a party and we are very pleased that the authorities in Manchester are making a big effort to make us feel welcome."


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