UEFA announces measures to enhance safeguards for supporters at UEFA finals
Friday, May 5, 2023
Comprehensive action plan details how UEFA is implementing the recommendations made by the Independent Review Panel following the events at last season’s UEFA Champions League Final at Stade de France.
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After assessing all of the recommendations, published on 13 February by the Independent Review Panel, UEFA has brought in measures to enhance the existing safeguards for fans attending its club and national team competition finals.
The measures contained in the action plan cover every aspect of the planning and staging of UEFA competition finals. They concern standard operating procedures, host bidding requirements and internal compliance mechanisms, so that these events provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment for all, ensuring spectators are well-treated, including by making stadiums more accessible to children, older people and people with disabilities.
UEFA has drawn both on the recommendations of the Panel and the findings of an internal working group, established immediately after the 2022 Champions League Final.
UEFA has also had extensive and positive dialogue with fan groups, primarily through Football Supporters Europe (FSE) to further involve fans in the planning and execution of the finals.
In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed between UEFA and FSE in January 2023, representatives from FSE have taken part in preparatory site visits to the host venues, contributing expertise and making recommendations, to ensure that the perspective of supporters is taken into consideration. UEFA benefits from valuable insights from fan groups on matters relevant to supporters. This includes monitoring and observing matches, surveying supporters and delivering detailed reports including instances of best practice and recommendations on areas of improvement in relation to supporter experience.
Their representatives are also involved in all finals, tracking and reporting on the fans’ journey throughout the event. Dedicated UEFA supporter liaison officers and UEFA disability access officers are now appointed for each final to help the finalist clubs to communicate and coordinate all arrangements for their fans.
Additional resources will be available on-site to ensure high-level, welcoming supporter services and that appropriate information and guidance are provided to fans, particularly across the ‘last kilometre’ routes.
UEFA has increased the number of its safety and security officers covering the finals. Dedicated project leads within UEFA are supported by external expertise covering areas such as safety, security and intelligence. Where necessary, officers are deployed in the host venue ahead of the final.
Many of the measures are already in place, such as embedding finalist teams and supporter organisations in UEFA’s strategy around finals, strengthening the assessment of stadium facilities for fans with disabilities, and enhancing what the Panel refers to as “interoperability” between host associations, local authorities and UEFA.
UEFA has taken these measures whilst acknowledging the constitutional roles and responsibilities of the police and other public bodies, as recognised in the safety and security guarantees, which UEFA requires from host countries as part of the bidding process.
Local knowledge and experience are essential for the successful staging of the finals. Consequently, UEFA continues to rely on the local expertise and responsibilities assumed by stakeholders in the host venue such as the stadium operators and the host associations.
Other measures reinforce existing processes and partnerships, such as UEFA’s long-standing commitment to the Council of Europe’s "Saint Denis Convention" on integrated safety, security and service at football matches, which was signed during UEFA EURO 2016. Future UEFA bid documents will require every host of a UEFA final to commit to act according to the philosophy of the Convention, even when their country has not signed up to it.
UEFA is also an observer in the Committee on Safety and Security at Sports Events, established by the Council of Europe to monitor compliance with the Convention and to provide advice and support in order to help national governments to improve their policymaking in this area.
UEFA is fully committed to enhancing the welcoming, service-oriented and inclusive experience for all supporters attending its finals.
Here is a summary of the actions taken which focus on two main objectives:
1) Making fans an integral part of UEFA finals, and
2) Ensuring alignment and collaboration between all stakeholders involved in the staging of these finals.
Theodore Theodoridis, UEFA General Secretary:
"At UEFA, 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. We have developed and implemented comprehensive operational measures which incorporate the recommendations of the Independent Review Panel and the valuable input of fan groups to enhance safety and security at our club and national team competition finals. 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 cooperation and will continue to work together to ensure that every supporter is heard, included and respected."
Ronan Evain, Executive Director of Football Supporters Europe:
"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. We have experienced first-hand the increased level of supporter engagement over the last year and welcome the strengthened approach to the integration of supporters’ perspectives in the preparation of the finals. 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."
Making fans an integral part of UEFA finals
Welcoming fans to UEFA finals
Recommendation reference number: 2, 6, 10, 12, 13 and 14.
• Monitoring and facilitation: UEFA is working closely with FSE, its supporters’ network and the finalists to gather and monitor information about numbers of fans travelling to the host city. Together with the host city and local authorities, UEFA facilitates and communicates arrangements available for the supporters of finalist teams in the host city, such as the set up of fan zones, where supporters can assemble before the game and, if required, public viewings for fans without a match ticket.
• Welcoming services in the host city: additional resources will be deployed to enhance ‘welcome services’ for fans and ensure that appropriate information and guidance, particularly across the ‘last kilometre’ access routes is communicated. UEFA is working with finalist clubs to integrate their travelling stewards with the overall plan for welcoming supporters to the stadium and fan zones. There will be dedicated staff at each turnstile block to help fans if they have problems with their tickets.
• Fan communication: UEFA is engaging with FSE and the finalists to ensure supporter organisations are actively involved in the fan communication strategy. Each organisation’s communication channels will be used to make sure that the right messages (including urgent ones) are delivered to fans.
• Stadium signage: UEFA is deploying appropriate signage at key entry points to the stadium.
• Medical and first aid personnel will be visible and accessible, including at the turnstile gates and on the stadium concourse.
Enhanced fan involvement in planning
Recommendation reference number: 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 15 and 21.
• Supporters’ network: UEFA and FSE have established a clearly defined mechanism for the inclusion of supporters throughout the planning and delivery of UEFA finals. FSE representatives are also integrated into the matchday operational teams for each final and are part of the revised comprehensive debrief process to ensure lessons learned are integrated into future finals.
• Finalist teams: UEFA pro-actively works with teams participating in the finals, both on security and operational planning and on information-sharing with local organisers and supporters.
• Supporter liaison: fan organisations and stewards from the participating clubs are central to UEFA’s overall communication strategy for finals. UEFA has also appointed supporter and disability access liaison officers, who will further strengthen dialogue with fans.
• Supporters with disabilities: UEFA is working with fan groups and local authorities to ensure that host stadiums provide a safe and appropriate number of high-quality facilities. Despite the big gaps existing in domestic regulatory frameworks, UEFA will also work with stakeholder organisations of disabled fans and clubs and national associations to raise the standards and capacity of stadium infrastructure and services for supporters with disabilities at all UEFA matches.
• Disability Access Officers: UEFA disability access officers are appointed for each final. Specialist partner organisations have been invited to join host site visits, advise on mobility and access issues and participate in post-event debriefs.
Alignment and collaboration
"Interoperability" & collaborative working
Recommendation reference number: 3, 8, 12, 13 and 15.
• Cooperation: UEFA has established a process to strengthen effective cooperation and communication with the local event organiser and policing authorities. Roles and responsibilities have been more clearly defined for areas delegated to local stakeholders. This includes work to link the stadium and the relevant host city control rooms, where this does not already exist.
• Policing: UEFA actively engages with host police commanders in advance of events, supporting access to all relevant expertise.
• Crisis management: UEFA tests the existing contingency, emergency and crisis plans and has introduced a new senior level incident control group, which will swiftly identify and escalate decisions.
• UEFA’s post-match analysis process will be analytically and objectively robust, with FSE observations being included.
A new approach to safety, security and operations, based on a service approach
Recommendation reference number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20 and 21.
• Enhanced oversight role: In taking all of these measures, UEFA has established a process which enables it to assume an enhanced oversight role in the staging of finals. This fosters effective co- operation between itself (as event owner) and the local organisers, authorities and other local stakeholders (such as transport networks) to deliver a safe, secure and welcoming event.
• Due diligence: UEFA has established a new process for reviewing its internal activities, as well as those of local stakeholders involved in staging competition finals. Where there are disagreements between stakeholders, UEFA will seek to actively resolve them and escalate any that remain. All aspects of safety and security oversight, risk assessment, dispute resolution/ escalation and approvals will be documented to ensure they are addressed. Independent audits are carried out to test the assumptions of mobility and crowd flow plans.
• Clarified roles: UEFA has further clarified the role of the UEFA safety and security unit and strengthened its capability to perform the new oversight role as it relates to safety and security.
• Host bidding: UEFA will formally require that all host bidders and stakeholders involved in hosting a competition final will adopt a facilitation safety, security and service approach as outlined by the "Saint Denis Convention".
• Saint Denis Convention: as a participant in the Council of Europe’s monitoring committee, UEFA will make recommendations on how compliance with the Convention can be better monitored and enforced, including during the planning phase.
• Monitoring compliance of Saint Denis Convention: UEFA will conduct regular monitoring of compliance with the philosophy of the “Saint Denis Convention” by host countries of UEFA finals whether they are signatories of the Convention or not.
• Stadium security team: Host stadium security teams are directly and more fully involved in planning for a final, particularly in relation to mobility, local crime intelligence, parking and traffic management. They also contribute to risk assessments and the operational plans, as well as assisting in ensuring that all stewards for the finals are appropriately trained.
• Multiagency planning: UEFA has taken steps to ensure that there are, amongst others, robust safety and security risk assessments, as well as a multi-agency operational plan for mobility and safety and security.
• Crowd modelling: UEFA has commissioned crowd modelling reports for the relevant finals this year and will set clear criteria for commissioning such reports if necessary, moving forward.
• Digital tickets: UEFA will only distribute digital tickets. Hard copy tickets are only used for on site troubleshooting. In addition, the UEFA digital ticketing platform has been audited by an independent consultancy.
• CCTV footage: In order to avoid a repeat of what happened after last year’s Champions League final, when CCTV footage from the stadium was destroyed shortly after the match without warning and without UEFA’s knowledge, UEFA has established a process where, following an incident at a final, it can take steps to seek to stop that from happening.
• Knowledge sharing: UEFA proactively engages with police commanders and, where relevant, government officials and ministers, by supporting access to relevant expertise. UEFA has a well-established programme of inviting them to be active observers of police operations at UEFA matches, so they may gain experience of and establish contact with the finalist clubs, their supporters, and the local police forces to discuss how they approach matchdays.