Macedonia has the worst tickets in Europe – and change seems distant

This is a translation of an article published in by author Filip Zdraveski, translated by us with their permission. The original article in Macedonian language can be read here.

For years, for the matches of the Macedonian national football team, ugly, soulless cards have been on sale, with nothing identifying the national team and almost black and white. Macedonian fans buy some of the ugliest football tickets in Europe, as confirmed by the collectors of these valuable pieces of paper.

On Monday, the tickets for the match Macedonia – England (November 20, 20.45 CET) went on sale. Since the morning, queues have formed in front of sales points where curious football fans have been waiting to get their hands on that much-desired piece of paper.

And, that piece is just like those for the matches in the past years. Ugly and boring, almost black and white.

Here is how the ticket for Macedonia – England looks like:

Photo: Angjel Jankov (president of FK Sloboden Aerodrom)

The ticket looks no different than the tickets of the previous matches, apart from the name of the opponent and the date. There is also a map of the stadium that you cannot read even with a magnifying glass.

Here’s how the tickets looked like in past years:

(The photos are from the private collection of the author of the text.)

Macedonia – Italy 2023

Macedonia – Ukraine 2023

Macedonia – Finland 2023

Macedonia – Italy 2017

Macedonia – Albania 2017

Macedonia – Spain 2017

These are tickets from 2023 and 2017.

But such tickets are not only for football matches for the national team. The tickets for the other events are no different at all.

Here, for example, is how the ticket for the Taksirat Music Festival 2023 looks like:

Let’s compare the tickets from the matches against Italy in 2017 and 2023 to see what has changed in 6 years!

Italy 2017

Italy 2023

Well, Italy’s logo is different because they recently changed it.

Ticket collector from Tetovo, Pavle Simovski, otherwise a sports journalist and a big fan of the Macedonian football team, often exchanges tickets with foreign collectors. According to him, foreign collectors have a very low opinion of Macedonian tickets.

“Foreign collectors say that our tickets are miserable, that we and Albania have the ugliest tickets in all of Europe. Recently, Kosovo also started using the Albanian tickets, so they are also in this group. Macedonia has definitely had the ugliest tickets in Europe in recent years, and certainly beyond,” says the disappointed Pavle when he was asked for a comment.

What does FFM say?

The Football Federation of Macedonia doesn’t print the tickets on its own for a long time, but hires a company (MKTickets at the moment) for this purpose. And therein lies the problem – that’s why the tickets are soulless, same for concerts and various other events.

We called FFM to ask how much of their contract with MKTickets is left, the company that issues the tickets, in hope that will dump them soon and when Macedonian fans (and foreign ones!) might finally get tickets that look like something. But they did not give us a concrete answer.

FFM told us that MKTickets had special paper purchased from Croatia on which they print the tickets, a paper that has protection against forgery and that there would be no new tickets until the large stocks aren’t finished. That is certainly no excuse for the extremely poor look.

How the Macedonian tickets used to look?

The tickets for the national team were not always as ugly as today’s. In the past, fans bought beautiful pieces of paper, sometimes very beautiful.

(Photos are from the private collection of the author of the text, unless otherwise indicated on the tickets itself.)

This is what the simple tickets in the 90s looked like, they are in today’s style. They were the same for every game, without the name of the opponent. The background color varied.

Macedonia – Bosnia and Herzegovina 1998

Somewhere around the year 2000, tickets with a match info were introduced.

Macedonia – Czechia 2001

Against Israel was one of the better tiockets. Simple, but with soul and identity (and color).

Macedonia – Israel 2002

Macedonia – England 2003

One of the most interesting ticket designs was for the 2006 World Cup qualifiers.

Macedonia – Armenia 2004, Photo: Pavle Simovski

Macedonia – Netherlands 2004, Photo: Pavle Simovski

Those for the qualifiers for 2008 EURO and the 2010 World Cup and the friendlies from that period also had a nice design.

Macedonia – Nigeria 2007

Macedonia – Estonia 2007

Macedonia – Croatia 2007

These tickets also had a good back side, as the stadium map could be well read.

Macedonia – Norway 2009

Macedonia – Qatar 2009

There were some nice tickets during the 2012 EURO qualifiers when the background color changed from match to match.

Macedonia – Russia 2010

Macedonia – Montenegro 2010

Macedonia – Ireland 2011

Macedonia – Andorra 2011

For the first time soulless tickets came out for the next qualifiers, those for the 2014 World Cup.

Macedonia – Croatia 2012

Macedonia – Serbia 2012

How the tickets look in other countries?

In order to make a real comparison, so that it does not turn out that we are speaking nonsense, we should also look at the tickets abroad. For that reason Pavle Simovski shared with us part of his collection. We deliberately wanted most of the cards to be from matches of the Macedonian national team on away matches.

(The photos are from the private collection of Pavle Simovski, unless otherwise stated on the tickets itself.)

Spain – Macedonia 1995

Croatia – Macedonia 1998

Moldova – Macedonia 2000

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Macedonia 2002

Andorra – Macedonia 2004

Croatia – Macedonia 2007

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Macedonia 2008

Montenegro – Macedonia 2008

Scotland – Macedonia 2009

Armenia – Macedonia 2011

Scotland – Macedonia 2012

Belgium – Macedonia 2013

Azerbaijan – Macedonia 2016 (on neutral ground in Austria), Photo: Filip Zdraveski

Serbia – Portugal 2016, Photo: Filip Zdraveski

Serbia – Portugal 2016 back side, Photo: Filip Zdraveski

Spain – Macedonia 2016

Israel – Macedonia 2019

Austria – Macedonia 2019

Georgia – Macedonia Nations League 2020

Some beautiful, some more beautiful. We hope that in the nearest future the tickets for the home matches of Macedonia will start to look like real football tickets.

PS: Collector Pavle is looking for the ticket from Macedonia’s first ever match in Kranj in 1993 against Slovenia. He doesn’t have it in his collection. If anyone has it, please contact us.

One Comments

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