July 9 – Fan groups from the four English clubs that contested UEFA’s two club finals have been backed by Europe’s largest supporters group in their efforts to persuade UEFA to be more fan-friendly in future when choosing where to play their showpiece events.
Liverpool, Tottenham. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham contested the Champions League and Europa League finals last season (the latter thousands of miles away in Baku, Azerbaijan, but issues around ticket prices and travel prompted heavy criticism.
A six-point proposal by the fan groups has been approval by Football Supporters Europe (FSE) which represents fans across Europe and can now take the proposals to UEFA.
Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly Supporters’ Union, Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust and Chelsea Supporters Trust believe support from FSE is vital in trying to create change. The groups say “supporters deserve much better when the finals are played”.
The proposal is as follows:
Allocations: 80% of the total number of tickets for the finals should be made available to the supporters of the two competing teams (40% each) with the remaining 20% to be for sponsors, the football family, key stakeholders and a small general sale or ballot.
Affordability: Pricing for the finals should be fair and affordable, with at least 45% of general admission tickets priced at the lowest category of 70 euros (2019 prices). There could be a stretch pricing policy so there is a choice for fans.
Capacity: Only stadiums with sufficiently large capacities should be selected. This would allow more tickets to be made available for the fans of both teams as well as the football family. It is proposed the ideal capacity for a Champions League final is in the region of 75,000 or greater, and for the Europa League final in the region of 55,000 or greater.
Accessibility and facilities: Any stadium considered must have the highest standards on accessibility for people with disabilities including travel access to the stadium. Any stadium considered must also have sufficient food and drink outlets and washrooms for all supporters, the ability to operate an e-ticketing system and not have been subject to a Uefa charge for treatment of fans or crowd management within the last 24 months at the time of selection.
Infrastructure: Final venues should be cities with excellent transport links, including capacity to deal with many additional charter flights and, ideally, good rail links to other cities and airports within reasonable travel distance. There should also be bed space capacity to deal with an extremely high number of visitors.
Equality: Host countries should apply no discrimination of any kind to any player or to supporters who wish to travel to the final. Countries staging finals should guarantee to abide by a human rights and equality policy that includes ensuring no discrimination or restriction on entry is applied to any player or supporter.
Liverpool and Tottenham were given 33,286 of the 68,000 tickets for last month’s Champions League final in Madrid with tickets appearing on resale website Stubhub hiked to an eye-watering €3,450. Arsenal and Chelsea shared just 12,000 of 68,700 seats for the Europa League final, with fans highly critical of the logistical difficulties involved with getting to Baku to where there were no direct flights in the week of the game.
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