After the logistical shambles that was the Europa League final in Baku (leaving aside the shambles Arsenal were on the pitch), and the difficulties faced by fans going to Madrid for the Champions League final, supporters groups have come together to urge UEFA for greater consideration in the future.
Most Arsenal and Chelsea fans could not attend the showdown in Azerbaijan due to distance, cost, poor transport links, and other factors, while those who did faced issues with flight prices and accommodation. Similar stories of hotels and taxis etc price gouging were prevalent for both finals.
The AST, as well as Spirit of Shankly, Chelsea Supporters Trust, and Tottenham Supporters Trust – alongside the FSA (Football Supporters Association), will present their policy changes to UEFA in the hopes that fans won’t continue to be an afterthought in the decision making process.
They have suggestion the following areas for improvement:
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.
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 shuld be a stretch pricing policy so there is a choice for fans.
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. 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 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.
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.
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 that no discrimination or restriction on entry is applied to any player or supporter.
FSA (England), Spirit of Shankly, AST, THST, CST
There was widespread anger and unhappiness at the European final situation this season, so as fans it’s important to remind the powers-that-be that we are the ones who matter.
Whether it will change anything remains to be seen, but hopefully more European fan groups will get on board, because it’s a problem that goes beyond the supports of the clubs involved this year.