Scotland fans 'thousands out of pocket' after Euro 2024 trip operator goes bust

Members of the Tartan Army were left with little to no communication from the operator before it went into liquidation.

Scotland fans ‘thousands out of pocket’ after Euro 2024 trip operator goes bust Getty Images

Scotland fans have been left out of pocket after a tour company selling Euro 2024 trips went into liquidation.

Football Road Trips Ltd, who advertised tailored tours for fans promising “thrilling and unique football experiences” announced it had gone bust citing “spiralling costs” following the Covid-19 pandemic.

STV News understands a number of Scotland fans booked with the company for packages to Germany, and received minimal correspondence before being asked to pay more money due to price increases.

Some fans complied but were still left scrambling to find alternative travel plans amid uncertainty of trips going ahead due to a lack of contact from the firm.

Packages included tickets to Scotland’s group games, but fans were left to watch the action elsewhere, including in fanzones, after arranging alternative travel.

Launching an investigation through Paypal, some supporters were able to reclaim partial and in some cases full refunds for final instalments paid but outstanding debts remain.

Neil Fernie, who booked up with two mates said his experience with the company was “horrendously bad” after they promised a number of attractive additions to the holiday.

He told STV News: “It also sounded very attractive.

“A ticket for the Scotland vs Switzerland game, each night in a four star hotel, picked us up from Gatwick in a mini bus with beers on the bus it all sounded amazing.

Packages included tickets to Scotland's group games, but fans were left to watch the action elsewhere.Getty Images

“We got sucked in, paying monthly payments and it cost about £1,000 all in.

“The lack of communication from them throughout the whole episode raised concerns with me.”

He added: “It was horrendously bad (not knowing what was happening). It’s been one of the biggest things Scotland has been a part of for years.

“Whilst we were in Germany we got the good news that we got every penny back so it worked out alright for us but there were probably many others that weren’t so lucky.”

Citing “last-minute price increases” from suppliers, the company said some Euro group tours had to be cancelled.

The firm, which rebranded as European Football Experience last year, said its business account was temporarily suspended due to high demand for refunds.

The majority of staff at the company were released, “hindering” its ability to respond to customers efficiently, a statement said.

In a statement responding to STV News, the company said: “It is with great regret that Football Road Trips Ltd announces its liquidation following continued spiralling costs since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Over the past months and years, the travel industry has been particularly hard hit, and we, like many other businesses, have found it impossible to survive.”

The company said it had been providing “incredible, unique experiences to thousands of people” for years.

But last year its record of 5-star reviews changed. A spokesperson said the business rebranded as European Football Experience (EFX) following a change to its majority shareholding.

Despite selling packages before and during Covid-19 for trips post-pandemic, the firm said it encountered significant price increases from suppliers.

“Tours sold cost us more to run than the revenue received, making our business model unsustainable,” the spokesperson said.

“Due to refund demands, our business account was temporarily suspended. In an attempt to ensure the trips went ahead, we used PayPal for the last instalment of payments.

“These have since been refunded. The financial strain forced us to release the majority of our staff, hindering our ability to respond to customers efficiently.”

The company said it continued running tours at a loss for some time before it became clear that it could not sustain the model.

The spokesperson said it had not sold any tours, other than Euros trips, for more than a year.

“We have initiated refunds, either in full or partially, with the liquidation process in place to resolve any outstanding debt to customers,” they said.

The firm sought to reassuer remaining customers that outstanding refunds will be paid.

Explaining how plans for the UEFA European Championships fell apart, the spokesperson said: “The Euros trips were all set to proceed until yet another last-minute price increase from our suppliers forced us to raise tour costs.

“While some customers agreed to the price increase, many did not, rendering our group tours unviable.

“We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to anyone who did not receive their tour. We want to make it clear that we never sold tours we did not intend to run, as reflected in our positive reviews up until the post-Covid crisis.

“We never intended for customers to be out of pocket, and we are committed to resolving this.”

The company said it was “now in the hands of liquidators” who will contact all remaining customers yet to receive refunds.

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