English football fans challenge Uefa over European finals

English football fans challenge Uefa over European finals

PanARMENIAN.Net - Fans groups from Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool have combined to produce a six-point plan urging Uefa to improve arrangements for major European finals, Evening Standard reports.

This season’s Europa League Final took place in front of thousands of empty seats as Chelsea and Arsenal each received an allocation of just 6,000 tickets.

Neither club was able to sell out even that modest figure due to the difficulty and cost of making the 9,000-mile round trip to host city Baku in Azerbaijan.

Tottenham and Liverpool supporters flying to Madrid for the Champions League finals faced flight costs of more than £1,000 as airlines hiked prices and only 17,000 fans from each team were given tickets despite Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium holding 63,500.

The Football Supporters Europe (FSE) four-day congress discussing issues across the game starts in Lisbon on Thursday – bringing together fans from 48 countries – with Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust and Liverpool’s ‘Spirit of Shankly’ calling on Uefa to act.

“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.

“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 centres on allocations, affordability, capacity, accessibility and facilities, infrastructure and equality.

They demand 80 per cent of tickets are made available to supporters of the two teams contesting the finals with 45 per cent of tickets made available at the lowest category, which was 70 Euros for the 2019 showpiece matches.

“Only stadiums with large capacities should be selected,” they continued. “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.

“We request the highest standards of accessibility for people with disabilities including travel to the stadium. All stadiums should have sufficient food and drink outlets and washrooms, the ability to operate e-tickets and not have been subject to a UEFA charge for treatment of fans for at least 24 months prior to selection.

“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.”

Arsenal winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan opted against taking part in this year’s Europa League Final due to political tensions in the region between Azerbaijan and his home nation Armenia.

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