Both of last year’s major UEFA finals were all-Premier League affairs, with Chelsea beating Arsenal in Baku for the Europa League title and Liverpool beating Spurs in Madrid for the Champions League title. But while there was much to celebrate in those successes, the fan experience was lacking in both cases, especially in Baku but also in Madrid. Issues with allocation, accommodations, and accessibility, not to mention travel expenses and logistics, plagued all those who wanted to and see their teams live and in person.
Unfortunately, these issues weren’t new at all, but to make matters worse, UEFA’s response, just as before, was little more than a shrug and an eyeroll — even as Chelsea and Arsenal kicked off in a half-empty stadium. Not that anyone was all that surprised that UEFA would put the needs of just about everyone else ahead of the fans.
Still, that’s no reason to give up hope of a better future, and supporters’ trusts of Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, and Liverpool are banking on that ideal in drawing up a 6-point proposal with which to start a conversation with European football’s governing body.
“We call on Uefa to strengthen its dialogue with fans and request they start by engaging with groups like ourselves to discuss the proposals we have put forward.”
-Joint statement; source: Guardian
Joint statement from supporters' trusts of Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea & Arsenal issued this morning lobbying @UEFA to improve the supporter experience around major finals. This is their six-point plan: #lfc #thfc #cfc #afc pic.twitter.com/jYz84UYbXG— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) August 28, 2019
Some of these points are highly idealistic — UEFA might disband before giving 80% of tickets over to the two teams playing in a final, and let’s not even get started on their poor record of enforcing standards and policies of equality — but they are certainly a good starting point.
1. Allocation: 80% of tickets should be made available to the two competing finalists, with the remaining 20% for sponsors, the football family, key stakeholders and small general sale.
2. Capacity: only stadiums with large capacities should be selected to ensure maximum ticket availability. We suggest 60,000 or greater for the Europa League final; 75,000 for the Champions League final.
3. Affordability: ticket pricing for the final to be fair and affordable. There should be stretch pricing policy allowing choice for fans.
4. Accessibility: the final venue must have the highest standards for accessibility for people with disabilities, including travel access to the stadium; sufficient food, drink and washroom facilities; and have not been subject to a UEFA charge for the treatment of fans for at least 24 months prior to the final.
5. Infrastructure: the location of the final venue be a city with excellent transport links, including the capacity to deal with additional charter flights, and ideally good rail links to nearby cities and airports; bed-space capacity to deal with the large number of visitors.
6. Equality: the host country must abide by a human-rights and equality policy that ensures no discrimination or denial of right of entry is applied to any players or supporter travelling to the final.