English fan clubs lobby UEFA to rethink European club final venues and pricing

July 5 – With a six-point plan fans groups of Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool have joined forces to urge UEFA to improve logistics for major European finals. Last season’s all-English European club finals were a logistical nightmare for fans in terms of travel and accommodation.

“A unique collaboration of supporters from four English clubs is committed to challenging UEFA and their disregard of match-going fans at European finals,” read a joint statement from the fan clubs.  “We challenged UEFA and its sponsors ahead of this year’s Champions League and Europa League finals but given the timescale, we were told it was too late for any changes.

“Now, we want to begin a campaign before the tournaments get under way. Under our proposals, supporters of the competing finalists would receive a greater allocation of tickets, a fairer pricing model, a stadium in a sensible location with an appropriate capacity and with an infrastructure in the host city suitable for a major influx of fans.”

The proposed six-point plan focuses on allocations, affordability, capacity, accessibility and facilities, infrastructure and equality. The fans demand 80% of tickets are made available to supporters of the two contesting teams and that 45% of tickets are sold in the lowest category.

In Baku, Arsenal and Chelsea disputed the Europa League final, but the Azeri capital was so difficult to reach for most fans that the London clubs failed to sell out their small allocation of just 6,000 tickets each. UEFA received heavy criticism for choosing Baku as venue. Fans had to undertake a 9,000-mile round trip from the English capital.

“We would not reassess the appointment of the hosts for Euro 2020,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin at the time. “That is decided. It was decided a long time ago, but it will stay that way. You know, it is the same problem for people from Baku to come to Dublin as for people from Dublin to come to Baku, so logistic problems – the distance is the same from London to Baku and from Baku to London.”

“Only stadiums with large capacities should be selected,” continued the fans statement.

“This would allow more tickets for fans of both clubs as well as the football family. We propose that the ideal capacity for a Champions League Final is in the region of 75,000 or greater and for the Europa League Final, 60,000 or greater.”

The fans of the 2019 Champions League finalists had a much shorter journey to the Spanish travel, but encountered airlines and hotels that had hiked prices astronomically, a situation not unlike the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev.

“Finals should [also] be in cities with excellent transport links and capacity to deal with many additional charter flights [and] host countries should guarantee to abide by a human rights and equality policy that includes ensuring that no discrimination or restriction on entry is applied to any player or supporter,” concluded the statement.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1563367016labto1563367016ofdlr1563367016owedi1563367016sni@o1563367016fni1563367016.