UEFA reveals new safety measures for fans attending finals
UEFA has brought in new measures to improve safeguards for fans attending finals in the wake of last season's Champions League fiasco. European football's governing body has drawn on the recommendations from the independent review panel into the chaotic scenes at the Stade de France, which saw Liverpool supporters suffer serious congestion problems and over-zealous policing, and an internal working group. It has also held "extensive and positive dialogue" with fan groups, primarily through Football Supporters Europe (FARE), to ensure their greater involvement in the staging of finals. Among the measures being taken are the appointment of dedicated supporter liaison officers and disability access officers for each final, an increase in the number of UEFA safety and security officers at events and improved 'welcome services', including signage, particularly along the last kilometre of stadium access routes - the lack of which was a significant problem at the Stade de France. UEFA will work with clubs to integrate travelling stewards into the overall plan, dedicated staff will be posted at each turnstile block to assist with ticket problems and medical personnel will be visible at the turnstiles and the stadium concourse. Crowd modelling reports have been commissioned for this year's finals, something which is likely to be repeated for future events, while UEFA insists it has established a process to avoid destruction of stadium CCTV footage in the event of problems - something which occurred immediately after Liverpool's defeat to Real Madrid. "We are fully committed to ensuring that every football fan can enjoy their team's appearance in a UEFA final in a safe, secure, and welcoming environment," said general secretary Theodore Theodoridis. "By implementing the best practices outlined in our action plan and further engaging with fan groups, we are committed to ensuring that everyone can enjoy our events in a safe, inclusive and enjoyable atmosphere. "We value their co-operation and will continue to work together to ensure that every supporter is heard, included and respected."
The changes were welcomed by Ronan Evain, FARE's executive director. "We commend UEFA on the commitment to implement the recommendations of the independent review and other operational changes to consolidate the level of safety, security and service offered to all fans at UEFA finals," he said. "FSE will continue to advocate on behalf of fans to ensure that the areas of best practice outlined in the action plan are also taken on board by clubs and implemented throughout the season."
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