ENGLAND fans have been left raging having been stranded after a travel operator cancelled a trip to Naples for the Euro 2024 qualifier at the last minute.
The FA’s official travel partner Sportsworld pulled the plug just days before Gareth Southgate’s men are due to face Italy.
Some 2,500 supporters were expected to make the trip for the match on Thursday night, with many now likely to miss out.
Naples is already on high alert after trouble broke out in the southern Italian city when yobs clashed with police.
Footage appeared to show both sets of supporters attacking police.
Travel company Sportsworld emailed fans late on Friday night to confirm that all arrangements had been scrapped.
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The firm blamed the violence in Naples as a factor in the decision although it is believed uncertainty from the Italian authorities regarding return flights was the main reason, the Mail on Sunday reports.
Supporters were told in an email, seen by the paper, that: “It is our policy never to cancel any trips, no matter the reason, but we unfortunately have no choice at this late stage.
“We have been planning this trip for months, but the events in Naples this week have certainly impacted the situation.
“We understand you may be angry and will feel let down at this news.
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“We are also truly disheartened with the outcome and apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.”
England fans have branded the decision as a “disgrace” and have urged the FA to sack Sportsworld as an official travel partner.
Supporters have now been left with having to make frantic last-minute travel arrangements for themselves.
Sportsworld initially emailed fans on Friday afternoon, saying they had not been able to confirm a return flight in time from Naples nor provide a clear transport plan during the day.
It asked fans if they wanted them to find alternative arrangements or cancel the trip.
Nearly 70 per cent of responses are believed to have wanted Sportsworld to proceed with finding other travel arrangements.
The firm then sent another email just after 8pm to confirm the trip had been cancelled.
It told fans they would refund the total cost of the trip, in excess of £350, plus an extra £41 per person, believed to be the cost of the match ticket.
Despite this, some England fans say they are still out of pocket.
Alan Houghton told the paper he was “annoyed and frustrated” and would not be travelling.
He said he has had to cancel a £60 hotel room at Gatwick airport which was booked separately for the night before the flight, with no hope of getting a refund.
Mr Houghton had originally made a booking with a different company, Sports Options, only for them to cancel plans three weeks ago because the authorities in Italy could not make a decision on return flights.
One angry fan wrote on Twitter: “Cancelling the travel for the Italy v England game in Naples with just five days notice – what a disgrace.
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“Won’t be using your company again and the FA should pull your official travel partner status.”
When approached by the Mail on Sunday, Sportsworld did not respond to a request for comment on why it took so long to make their decision.
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk