GDANSK, Poland: Ten days of quarantine and multiple COVID-19 tests have discouraged some of the most engaged Manchester United supporters from planning a trip to watch the Europa League final on Wednesday in Gdansk, Poland.
"There are quite a few among the regulars who go to European away games that have cancelled, not purely because of the cost - because we have not been travelling for 18 months anyways - but mostly because of the quarantine when we get back," United fan Keith Udale told Reuters.
The British government has placed Poland on the amber list of countries and territories, which means anyone travelling there is required to quarantine for 10 days on return.
The self-isolation may end after two negative PCR test results, taken on or before day two and on or after day eight of the quarantine. This elevates the number of tests related to, in many cases, a less than 24-hour trip to three.
"Even though after the first test, if that comes back negative, you can have an advanced test after day five, some people just can't afford to take a week off work," said Udale, who first attended a United European away game in the 1967-68 season when they first won what was then the European Cup.
The Polish authorities have waived the local non-Schengen quarantine rules for British fans arriving in Gdansk on the game day. Supporters should carry a negative test result taken before the flight and a ticket for the final.
Conversely, Villarreal fans travelling to the final directly from Spain will only need one negative test before they fly, not depending on whether they opt to travel on match day or one day prior. There will be no need to quarantine on return.
Some of the United fans who managed to book time off to see the match, like Udale, chose to combine the trip with a holiday in a green-list country. This will allow them to avoid the UK quarantine.
"Me and my wife Lise have managed to dodge around that a little bit," he said. "From Gdansk, on Thursday, we're going to fly down to Madeira."
Earlier this month, the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea set to be played on May 29 was moved from Istanbul, which is on Britain's red list, to Porto to allow English fans to travel.
(Reporting by Tommy Lund and Anita Kobylinska; Editing by Nick Macfie)