EXCLUSIVE: Furious England fans left STRANDED after travel operator cancels trip to Naples for Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy at last minute… with violence in city ahead of Napoli clash and Frankfurt was blamed for the decision
- England kick off their Euro 2024 qualification campaign against Italy on Thursday
- Traveling Three Lions fans were left in a tizzy days before the match
- Around two and a half thousand England fans were thought disappointed
Furious England fans have been left stranded after the FA’s official travel partner canceled their trip to Naples days before Gareth Southgate’s side face Italy in a replay of the EURO 2020 final.
Around 2,500 England supporters are expected to travel to face Italy in their European Championship qualifier on Thursday night in a city on high alert after shocking scenes last week of Eintracht Frankfurt fans clashing with police – which many are now set to miss.
Travel company Sportsworld sent an email to supporters on Friday evening to confirm that all arrangements had been scrapped.
Sportsworld blamed the violence in Naples as a factor in the decision although it is understood that uncertainty from Italian authorities over return flights was the main reason for the chaos.
‘It is our policy to never cancel any trips, whatever the reason, but unfortunately we have no choice at this late stage,’ supporters were told in an email seen by The Mail on Sunday.
Thousands of furious England fans have been left out by the FA’s official travel partner, who have canceled their trip to Naples days before Gareth Southgate’s side face Italy
The travel operator blamed last week’s unrest in Naples for the decision – after hundreds of Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt supporters clashed ahead of their Champions League clash.
‘We have been planning this trip for months, but the events in Naples this week have certainly affected the situation.’
‘We understand that you may be upset and feel disappointed by this news. We are also really disappointed with the outcome and apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.’
England fans branded the decision a ‘disgrace’ and urged the FA to drop Sportsworld as an official travel partner as they are now left scrambling to make their own last-minute travel arrangements.
Sportsworld emailed supporters on Friday afternoon to say they had not been able to confirm a return flight time from Naples or provide a clear transport plan for the day and asked if fans wanted them to find alternative arrangements or cancel the trip.
Despite almost 70 per cent of responses urging Sportsworld to continue to find travel arrangements, the company sent a further email just after 8pm to confirm the trip had been cancelled.
Sportsworld told fans they would refund the total cost of the booked trip, which was more than £350, plus an additional £41 per person, believed to be the cost of the match ticket.
Police cars and other vehicles were placed on top – with windows smashed onto the street
But some England fans are still out of pocket. Alan Houghton told The Mail on Sunday that he was ‘disgusted and disappointed’ and will now not travel. He had to cancel a £60 hotel room at Gatwick airport booked separately for the night before the flight to Naples with no hope of a refund.
Houghton originally booked the trip with another company called Sports Options only for them to cancel the plans three weeks ago because Italian authorities could not decide on return flights.
Sportsworld did not respond to a request for comment on why their decision took so long.
‘Canceling travel for Italy v England game in Naples at just five days notice – disgraceful,’ said one angry fan on Twitter. ‘Your company will not be used again and the FA must take away your official travel partner status.’
News/Image Sources: Daily Mail