Champions League: Ukrainians offer fans free accommodation

Women walk past a poster of the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final set on a building in KievImage copyrightGetty Images

Generous residents of Kiev have mobilised on social media to offer free accommodation to football fans visiting the Ukrainian capital for the Champions League final at the end of May.

Several Facebook groups have been set up to offer spare rooms and sofas to visiting football fans after local hotels dramatically increased their prices.

Liverpool are set to take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Kiev on Saturday 26 May.

Champions League: Ukrainians offer fans free accommodation
Champions League: Ukrainians offer fans free accommodation

After screenshots of inflated hotel prices were widely shared on social media among travelling supporters, locals decided to take matters into their own hands and open their homes to visiting fans.

Skip Twitter post by @WillDowningComm

A comparison of hotel prices in Kiev (one person, one room) on #ChampionsLeague Final night, and then the following Wednesday. Supply and demand, eh?

— Will Downing (@WillDowningComm) May 6, 2018


End of Twitter post by @WillDowningComm

Victor Kylymar set up one of the biggest groups – called ‘Kiev FREE couch for football fans 26/05/18’ – after he noticed a number of his friends sharing photos of the inflated cost of accommodation in the city.

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Speaking to the BBC, Victor said he was “shocked and ashamed” when he saw how hotels had hiked up their prices.

“Facebook was full of posts about how greedy hotels in Kiev were, and I thought there must be a way to solve this problem.”

The Facebook group has over 5,000 members and has hundreds of posts and comments.

Victor says he is “really proud” of the generosity of his fellow Ukrainians and hopes people’s image of Kiev will be more positive as a result.

“People are opening their homes and offering to take guests on cultural excursions and cook them local dishes. People are kind of being cultural ambassadors.

“Football is about bringing people together, and that is what this group is about too. It’s about friendship.”

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Fans have posted to the group looking for rooms after the cost of other accommodation was raised by hundreds of pounds.

Many fans posted messages of thanks to the group, saying they were amazed by the generosity of many Ukrainians.

Image copyrightNicole Sarkin Barkai

Image copyrightIan Flynn

Others took to Twitter to offer a “couch in Kiev” in exchange for a few English treats.

Skip Twitter post by @fools_n_kings

Serious offer, Liverpool fans: Any Reds need a couch in Kiev? Will offer a free spot for beers and a delivery of Bramley apple pies from England. 🍏🥧#Liverpool#UCL#UCLfinal

— Nicholas, V.S.G. (@fools_n_kings) May 2, 2018


End of Twitter post by @fools_n_kings

While many were outraged by the hike in prices, Viktor Andrusiv of business management consultancy Ukrainian Institute for the Future posted on Facebook in defence of the hotels.

Mr Andrusiv wrote that while some are accusing Ukrainians of “greed and a lack of ethics and decency”, they are merely “behaving in line with the free market and reaping the fruit of that”.

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