FC Barcelona introduces updated protocol for ‘high-risk’ games

Featured image credit: Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

Spanish LaLiga club FC Barcelona has revealed its ‘Protocol of Security and Control of the opposing fans’, which will be utilised for matches that are considered high-risk. 

The protocol has the aim of increasing security at the Camp Nou, protecting Barcelona members and subscribers, and deterring the misuse of subscriptions and fraud.

Vice-president and spokesperson of FC Barcelona, Elena Fort, introduced the features of the protocol following last year’s Europa League quarter-final match against German side Eintracht Frankfurt.

The match at the Camp Nou saw Barcelona eliminated from the competition with around 25,000 to 30,000 Frankfurt fans present, despite only being given an allocation of 5,000 tickets. The Spanish club argued that it had followed the rules by not allowing tickets to be sold to German residents or bought by German credit cards, and said that tickets must have been purchased by those outside of Germany and passed on.

The new protocol will be introduced from FC Barcelona’s Europa League round of 16 match against Manchester United on February 16.

Fort said: “We have been working for months on how to act to prevent events like those from happening again, and to prevent similar circumstances from happening, we have sought to create a protocol focused on this objective.

“The desire of the Board of Directors is that all subscribers and as many possible members attend the matches and be able to fill the field to support the team.”

On top of the measures already in place for away fans purchasing tickets, the new protocol will include communication during the ticket sales process, indicating that the purchase of tickets is prohibited from members of the opposing fans. Fans wearing the opposition’s shirts will not be allowed to wear these items of clothing in any other area than the one reserved for the opposing fans.

For these high-risk matches, tickets can only be bought through the club’s website and will not be available to purchase through the Camp Nou box office. The sale of tickets will also be limited to a maximum of four entries per transaction instead of the usual six.

There will be no children’s tickets for sale, and sales to tour operators will be limited to a maximum of 1,000 tickets for all, with specific access through a controlled area. Operators cannot sell to opposing fans or their contracts with the club will be cancelled.

For the Manchester United match, a new operation has also been put in place which concerns the transfer of tickets.

In order to attend the Europa League match, users of the subscription will have to be the holders, or if they need to transfer tickets to another person, they will have to fill out a form with the data of the person that will attend the game.

The transfer may be made to a member or non-member, and once the change has been made, cannot be undone or changed. To access the stadium, the holder must bring the printed or digital form, the membership card (either their own or that of the holder), the subscription card and a form of identification.

Other factors in place during high-risk games include enabling access 21 exclusively for visiting fans; the opening of entrances two hours before the event; the establishment of 25 access lanes for validation for away fans; a segregated visitor area for local fans and segregation in the stands. Additional measures can be put in place including the opening of all access lanes to the stadium and the verification of nominality.