UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has urged total commitment to ensuring that football stadiums are considered as "a safe environment for people to share the joy of our beautiful game."
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UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin says that European football must step up its efforts to ensure that football matches are played in a safe, secure and welcoming environment.
Mr Čeferin was addressing representatives of European national associations, public authorities, the EU Think Tank on Football Safety and Security and the Council of Europe at the inaugural UEFA Stadium and Security Strategy Summit in Nyon on Tuesday.
“We must ensure that stadiums are considered as a safe environment for people to share the joy of our beautiful game,” the UEFA President said. “This is, and should be our main priority.”
“Today, due to several conflicts around Europe and the world,” he added, “our continent is more prone than ever to threats.”
“We must work harder to ensure all precautions are taken, all threats countered and, most importantly, people feel safe and secure, as much as at their homes.”
A series of UEFA strategy summits will take place over the coming period, and groups of national associations will attend each gathering.
The strategy meetings will aim, among others, to serve as a reminder of the lessons of the past, debate current incidents and identify emerging trends, including terrorism, and reflect on the risks and liabilities that arise in this crucial area of the game.
The summits will also give impetus to UEFA’s stadium and security strategy, launched this year and continuing until 2021, and highlight national challenges and associations’ needs.
UEFA is working hand in hand with its 55 member associations to help them develop effective safety and security strategies and activities, and is also co-operating closely with the EU and Council of Europe.
UEFA has provided significant funding for the implementation of its safety and security strategy over the next few years, as part of its vision to play a leading role in the sector.
The strategy has at its core the delivery of integrated and balanced safety, security and service for the vast majority of fans, while, at the same time, seeking to exclude the small minority of troublemakers.
“Before my election in 2016, I had made safety and security one of my top priorities,“ Mr Čeferin told the audience. “We are together today to ensure that our stadiums are secure and safer than ever.”
“Please always remember that our stadiums, for clubs and national team football matches, have to be family friendly,” he stressed. “No parent should be afraid to go to a match with their children.”
The UEFA President said that now was not the time to rest on any laurels as far as the safety of people at football matches was concerned.
“Thanks to the good work done by my predecessors and your good work,” he told the audience, “UEFA is one of the leading sports organisations in the world regarding safety and security measures in sport. However, we cannot stop and enjoy this position.”
UEFA has emphasised the necessity for a Europe-wide approach to safety and security that should encompass governments, local authorities, police, security forces, football authorities, supporters and local communities.
“We must collaborate more with public authorities,” Mr Čeferin said, “and share information efficiently and rapidly in every single situation.”
Mr Čeferin thanked the UEFA Stadium and Security Committee and its chairman Michael van Praag for its initiatives to reinforce the work being undertaken to provide safe football stadiums.