Uefa Raises Concerns Over Ticketless Fans Ahead of Europa League Final

Uefa has expressed concerns about the potential presence of ticketless fans at the Europa League final scheduled to take place at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on 22 May. The general secretary, Theodore Theodoridis, stated that accommodating supporters without tickets could pose significant challenges, particularly if clubs with large fanbases, such as Liverpool, Rangers, and West Ham, advance to the final.

The concerns arise from past incidents, including the chaotic scenes at the 2022 Champions League final in Paris, where Liverpool fans were teargassed before the match. Despite initial blame placed on ticketless fans, an independent report concluded that Uefa bore primary responsibility for the events. Similarly, the 2023 Champions League final in Istanbul faced criticism for logistical issues, including transportation and facilities for fans.

Liverpool and Rangers, known for their substantial fanbases, especially in Ireland and Northern Ireland, could potentially contribute to overcrowding at the Dublin final. West Ham’s significant support was evident during their Europa Conference League final victory in Prague in 2023.

To address potential challenges, Uefa is considering alternative viewing venues, including Croke Park, and is collaborating with local authorities and Football Supporters Europe to manage the situation effectively.

The concerns were raised as Uefa outlined the new format for European competitions starting next season. All three tournaments, including the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League, will expand to 36 teams and feature changes in scheduling to accommodate additional match rounds. Despite potential fixture clashes with domestic cup competitions, Uefa emphasized its commitment to accommodating all teams and respecting the independence of domestic associations.

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