Fans of Premier League top wigs, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have called on UEFA to improve on major European finals.
This came as a result of difficulties encountered by fans traveling to the Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal in May, held in Baku.
Azerbaijan, created controversy, while supporters from Liverpool and Tottenham struggled to get tickets for the Madrid Champions League final.
In the same vein, Unai Emery left Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of his squad for the Europa League final due to political tensions between Azerbaijan and the winger’s home nation of Armenia, with then Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny criticising UEFA’s decision to hold the final in Baku.
Arsenal Supporters Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, the Spirit of Shankly Liverpool supporters’ group and the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust in a joint statement outlined changes fans want to see in the how UEFA organises major finals.
According to the supporters groups, “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.”
With the draws for this season’s Champions League and Europa League groups set to take place on Thursday and Friday, respectively, in Monaco, the statement called for 80 per cent of match tickets to be available to fans of competing finalists, and for stadiums with large capacities to be chosen for finals.
Along with a fair and affordable ticket pricing policy, the statement called for improved accessibility to stadiums, host cities with high standards of infrastructure, and a human rights and equality policy applicable to host nations.
“[Thursday’s] much-hyped draw will involve everybody from the football family except the very people without whom there would be no European Football – its supporters,” the statement continued.