Ukrainian politician offers to house UCL fans for free

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Ukrainian politician offers to house UCL fans for free

Ukrainian politician offers to house UCL fans for free

FABRICE COFFRINI

AFP

Ukrainian lawmaker Yegor Sobolev and his family decided to invite football fans to stay in their home for free when they heard hotels had aggressively raised prices for the night of the final.

Sobolev and his family decided to invite fans to stay in their home for free when they heard hotels had aggressively raised prices for the night of the Champions League final on May 26.

Many hotels and apartments are asking several thousand dollars for accommodation that normally costs around $50 per night or cancelling existing bookings to charge higher rates for the expected influx of around 50,000 supporters. 

Yegor Sobolev

To promote a welcoming image of Ukraine, Ukrainians have taken to social media to offer supporters spare beds, lifts from the airport and even home-cooked meals of borscht, a traditional beetroot soup.

Even President Petro Poroshenko has offered to host a few fans to make up for the lack of affordable accommodation in the capital over the weekend of the final between Liverpool and Spain's Real Madrid.

Opposition MP Sobolev, his wife and three children have agreed to hand over the keys to their apartment in central Kiev to a Liverpool supporter and his young daughter.

"I don't think this is a risky idea. This is a pleasant and powerful way to connect people from different countries and continents," he told Reuters in his apartment.

"That is what football means," he said, surrounded by his children including his soccer-mad son Misha, 11, who was wearing full Liverpool kit.

This is not the first time the family have hosted strangers.

SOCCER-TOUR-SYD-LIV/Soccer Football - Liverpool Tour - Sydney FC vs Liverpool - Sydney, Australia - 24/5/17 - Liverpool fans show their support. REUTERS/Jason Reed

In 2014, they invited a family to stay for three months who had fled pro-Russian separatist fighting in eastern Ukraine. Kiev's outpouring of hospitality stems in part from a desire to show the country has recovered from the worst of a political and economic crisis sparked by a 2013/14 pro-European uprising and subsequent separatist conflict.

A Facebook group called 'Kyiv FREE couch' that matches Ukrainians offering free accommodation with soccer supporters in need of a place to stay has gained over 5,000 members since its launch on May 5.

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