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Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 10:52 UK

Fulham fail to bring forward fixture with Arsenal

Hamburg's HSH Nordbank Arena will host the Europa League final on May 12
Fulham take on Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on 12 May

Fulham have failed in their attempt to move their final Premier League game of the season from Sunday to Saturday.

The Cottagers wanted to face Arsenal a day earlier so they could have extra time to prepare for the Europa League final against Atletico Madrid.

Fulham play in Hamburg on Wednesday but the Premier League have to ensure the integrity of the domestic competition.

Meanwhile, Fulham have asked Uefa for more tickets for the final, after selling out their 12,650 allocation.

Fulham claim the scarcity of tickets for the game against Atletico Madrid is due to "unprecedented demand," after selling out in under four hours.

But fan groups have blamed a decision to let season ticket holders buy up to four tickets for the game.

"We are lobbying for more tickets, fans should register with us," said Fulham's communications director Sarah Brookes.

Uefa, European football's governing body, was unable to comment on Fulham's appeal for more tickets on Wednesday.

The Craven Cottage club has 10,000 season ticket holders but the decision to allow them to buy up to four tickets each could mean that some regular supporters miss out.

606: DEBATE

Tickets went on sale at 0700 BST on Friday, less than 12 hours after Fulham booked their place in their first ever European final with a 2-1 win over Hamburg.

And Fulham supporters' club spokesman John Aitken, 50, described the club's ticketing policy as "a joke."

"It is always a constant battle, we have been in the Premier League for 10 years and got to a European final, we are established, but the club are acting like we are still in the old third division," said Aitken.

"They took about £1m in a morning, surely the computer system should have told them that they needed to hold some back for other season ticket holders?"

Mr Aitken, who predicts Fulham could have up to 20,000 supporters in Germany, said he missed out on tickets, despite being a season ticket holder and going to the club's ground on Friday morning.

"I went down to the office to collect tickets for the West Ham game, but they said I had to apply online for the Europa tickets By the time I got home and logged on they had already sold out," he said.

Fulham say they had no choice but to sell as many tickets as possible, pointing to the fact that they have not sold out a single away ticket allocation during their historic 18-game European odyssey.

"We had a limited window to sell off our tickets and if we didn't manage to sell them all then the club would have taken a million-pound financial hit," continued Brookes.

"We apologise, of course we apologise if anyone has missed out, but this really is an unprecedented level of demand - we have never sold out an away ticket allocation so quickly.

Fulham's European adventure
Fulham's Europa League journey has taken them all over Europe

"We have asked fans to register with us if they don't have tickets and we are lobbying Uefa for more tickets."

Uefa confirmed both sides have been allocated 12,650 tickets for the final, with a further 14,000 available to the general public.

Many of the general public tickets are likely to have been bought by fans of Hamburg, who would have been hoping to see their team triumph on home soil, before they lost to Fulham in the semi-finals.

4,600 tickets go to the local organising committee, while the 6,100 tickets available to the Uefa associations and commercial partners make up the expected 49,000 capacity of the Hamburg Arena.

"We are looking at ways to help genuine supporters and season ticket holders who may have missed out and we will do all can to help and sort out any anomalies," said Brookes.

"But I am confident that the vast majority of fans who have followed us through thick and thin over the years will be with us in Hamburg."



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see also
From the Cottage to the Continent
22 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hodgson hails historic Fulham win
30 Apr 10 |  Fulham
Fulham 2-1 Hamburg (agg 2-1)
28 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hamburg 0-0 Fulham
22 Apr 10 |  Europe
Europa semis get Uefa green light
19 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hamburg and Atletico reach semis
08 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hodgson sees Zamora value rising
08 Apr 10 |  Europe
Wolfsburg 0-1 Fulham (agg 1-3)
08 Apr 10 |  Europe
Fulham 2-1 Wolfsburg
01 Apr 10 |  Europe
Fulham 4-1 Juventus (agg 5-4)
18 Mar 10 |  Europe
Juventus 3-1 Fulham
11 Mar 10 |  Europe
Fulham 3-0 FK Vetra (agg 6-0)
06 Aug 09 |  Europe
FK Vetra 0-3 Fulham
30 Jul 09 |  Europe


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