Supporters’ groups representing Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea have called on UEFA to improve the fan experience following a host of issues with ticket allocations and travel at last year’s European club competition finals.
The four Premier League clubs’ fan groups have formed a coalition to create a six-point action plan calling on the governing body to “engage in meaningful dialogue with supporters and address these points.”
The plan calls for 80 per cent of tickets to be made available to the two competing finalists in either the Europa League or Champions League, with the remaining 20 per cent for sponsors, the football family, key stakeholders and small general sale.
Chelsea and Arsenal supporters were allocated just 6,000 tickets each in Baku’s 68,700-seater Olympic Stadium in the Europa League final. Meanwhile, Liverpool and Spurs were allocated 16,613 tickets for the Champions League final in Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium, which has a capacity of 68,000.
Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Spirit of Shankly and Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust also urged UEFA to create a “stretch pricing policy” for tickets to finals, to “allow choice for fans.”
The plan also calls for the selection of large stadia to “ensure maximum ticket availability,” and suggests 60,000 or greater for the Europa League Final and 75,000 for the Champions League final.
The statement from the four fans’ groups said: “Reaching a UEFA Champions League or Europa League final should be a wonderful experience for a club’s supporters. Instead, they can face a struggle just to attend the match.
“Problems range from inadequate numbers of tickets being awarded to the finalists through to all-but-impossible travel arrangements. Too often fans who had supported their clubs in every round up to the final were left out of pocket or not able to attend the final at all.”
The plan has been referred to the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) and Football Supporters Europe (FSE).
It also demands that potential host cities have “excellent transport links, including the capacity to deal with additional charter flights,” following this year’s travel debacle in Baku, Azerbaijan. The size of Baku’s airport meant that only around 15,000 fans were able to travel to Azerbaijan from abroad.
Accessibility within the stadia has also been brought to UEFA’s attention, as well as ensuring that the host country “abides by a human-rights and equality policy that ensures no discrimination or denial of right of entry is applied to any player or supporter travelling to the final.”
Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan decided not to travel to Baku over safety fears. The Armenian midfielder said it would be too dangerous to travel to Azerbaijan amid the conflict between the countries over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The statement from Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Spirit of Shankly and Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust comes ahead tomorrow’s (Thursday’s) draw in Monaco for the Champions League and Europa League 2019-20 tournaments.
Image: Tuga M