Fans voice experiences at European away matches

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Football fans have documented their experiences at European away matches as part of the ongoing work to keep supporters safe when travelling abroad.

A survey coordinated by the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) has been completed by fan groups from English clubs who have played in European competitions since the 2020/21 season.

The clubs involved are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brighton, Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle United. The aim of publishing the results is to improve the safety, security and service provided to fans travelling abroad and avoid repeats of some of their recent negative experiences.

Whilst much of the feedback is positive, fans who completed the survey have reported a number of concerning experiences across the continent including poor facilities, issues with transport and aggressive policing.

The UKFPU will now use the data to work with fans, UEFA and the host countries to address the issues raised. The report will also help inform police officers and fans from the UK when they travel abroad for future matches – and supporters will have the opportunity to update the survey following each away match their team play.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, NPCC Lead for Football Policing, said: “Following the events of the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final in Paris and the mistreatment of Liverpool fans, it was hoped that the reviews and outcry would mark a watershed in the experience of English supporters following their teams in Europe.

“Subsequent events, in particular the arrangements for Manchester City supporters attending the 2023 Champions League final in Istanbul, suggested this wasn’t the case and that lessons were not being learned.

“The aim of this survey is to get more detailed evidence of the issues fans are experiencing when travelling to European away matches, and to help find a way to solve these.

“There has been a lot of positive feedback, but we can see from the data some specific issues which are being experienced at certain clubs and in certain countries. It is hoped we can use these results to work collaboratively and create a safer and more welcoming experience for supporters following their teams.”

“As these surveys continue to be completed they will help to provide really rich feedback that enables us to focus on the problem areas and to share good practice from clubs that are getting this right. Fans have a strong voice and bring a lot experience and knowledge, and it is right that we use this feedback to continue to improve their safety and security when travelling abroad.”

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