Tag Archives: supporters issues

Time for UEFA to take action on managing the Champions League and Europa League finals

The fan experience at UEFA finals must be improved, say fan groups of last year’s four finalists.

Ahead of tomorrow’s draw in Monaco for the Champions League and Europa League 2019/20 tournaments, supporters of last season’s four finalists are calling for changes in how UEFA manage the finals. ​

A joint statement by Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Spirit of Shankly and Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust reads:

Reaching a UEFA Champions League or Europa League final should be a wonderful experience for a club’s supporters. Instead, they can face a struggle just to attend the match. ​Problems range from inadequate numbers of tickets being awarded to the finalists through to all-but-impossible travel arrangements. Too often fans who had supported their clubs in every round up to the final were left out of pocket or not able to attend the final at all. 

We have drawn up a six-point action plan to improve the supporter experience. It has been referred to the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) and Football Supporters Europe (FSE). We now call on UEFA to engage in meaningful dialogue with supporters and address these points.

1. Allocation: 80% of tickets should be made available to the two competing finalists. with the remaining 20% for sponsors, the football family, key stakeholders and small general sale.
 
2. Capacity: only stadiums with large capacities should be selected to ensure maximum ticket availability. We suggest 60,000 or greater for the Europa League final; 75,000 for the Champions League final.
 
3. Affordability: ticket pricing for the final to be fair and affordable. There should be a stretch pricing policy allowing choice for fans. 
 
4. Accessibility: the final venue must have the highest standards for accessibility for people with disabilities, including travel access to the stadium; sufficient food, drink and washroom facilities; and have not been subject to a UEFA charge for the treatment of fans for at least 24 months prior to the final.
 
5. Infrastructure: the location of the final venue to be a city with excellent transport links, including the capacity to deal with additional charter flights, and ideally good rail links to nearby cities and airports; bed-space capacity to deal with the large number of visitors.
 
6. Equality: the host country must abide by a human-rights and equality policy that ensures no discrimination or denial of right of entry is applied to any player or supporter travelling to the final.

Tomorrow’s much hyped draw will involve everybody from the football family except the very people without whom there would be no European Football – its supporters. We call upon UEFA to strengthen its dialogue with fans and request that they start by engaging with groups like ourselves to discuss the proposals we have put forward to improve arrangements for fans at the final stage of the Champions and Europa Leagues.

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust
Arsenal Supporters’ Trust
Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
Spirit of Shankly, Liverpool Supporters’ Trust 

CST Statement on Supporter Bans

The news that Chelsea have banned one supporter for life and five others for between one and two years for behavior relating to the abuse of Raheem Sterling at Stamford Bridge last December, whilst understandable is disappointing.

The Crown Prosecution Service stated in April that there was not enough evidence to prove racist abuse or public order offences. However, the Club have taken an alternative view, without the burden of proof needed to establish whether any criminal offences had occurred.

Abusive behaviour is abhorrent, whether in the febrile atmosphere of a football match or in society as a whole and racism is unequivocally no subject for semantics or ‘whataboutism’. The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust will always support the Club in taking action where racist abuse is proven.

However, the crux of this matter is that the Club are entitled to enforce any disciplinary action they deem fit if a supporter breaches their ticketing terms and conditions. Simply put, the club are not a public body and they can enact whatever policies they like in respect of supporters’ behaviour.

While we respect the Club’s right to do this, we do find their procedures troubling.

In the interests of fairness and natural justice, we believe there needs to be consistency and transparency around the Club’s banning procedures. Currently it seems that the Club are acting as ‘Judge and Jury’. When a supporter’s ability to support their team is at stake or worse, their employment and reputation, we believe it would be more equitable to use independent arbitration in the appeals process or an appeals committee independent from the Club.

Football, like society has changed. Clearly some behaviour is simply unacceptable at football in the modern age with violence and racist and abusive behaviour top of the list. Given what is potentially at stake for supporters, we believe the Club should make their policies relating to unacceptable behaviour and breaching conditions of ticket use far more accessible and visible than they currently are.

It would seem sensible for supporters to acquaint themselves with exactly what the club considers to be behaviour that would put you in breach of their conditions and lead to a ban. The Club’s policy document can be downloaded here.

We will continue to support the Club taking action against racist and abusive behaviour from both Chelsea supporters and supporters of all clubs, but we will also challenge the Club when we believe that their procedures and rationale for banning supporters is unfair.

European Club Finals #ForTheFans

 

CST Statement on European Super League discussions

Chelsea Supporters Trust, in common with other Premier League Trusts and supporter organisations, have deep concerns about stories of a possible UEFA European Super League which have received media coverage in recent weeks.  

As a result the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust sent a letter (click here to read the letter) to Chelsea FC expressing our opposition to the idea of a European Super League being discussed by the European Club Association. The full statement by the United Football Supporters Organisation can be read here (http://www.fsf.org.uk/blog/view/six-reasons-to-oppose-a-european-super-league), outlining our opposition in detail.

CST board members met with Chelsea executives Bruce Buck and Graham Smith to discuss the matter. They confirmed the club position, and that of the Premier League, which is one of opposition to the idea, as reported in the media.  The club is working with other Premier League clubs to counter the idea, which they see as detrimental to both Premier League and European domestic football in a wider context.  

The parties will continue dialogue on the issue going forward.

Joint Statement from Arsenal Supporters Trust and Chelsea Supporters Trust on the Europa League Final in Baku

Having reached the Europa League final on May 29th, loyal supporters of both Arsenal and Chelsea should be looking forward to seeing their teams compete in a European final, always a great occasion.

Sadly, many have already decided that the cost and logistical difficulty of reaching the designated venue, Baku, means that they cannot attend. Baku is one of the most inaccessible cities in Europe from the UK, with few direct flights from any western European destination. Fans who have been to 40+ games this season, loyal supporters by any definition, are unable to attend the climax of their club’s season, a dreadful reward for their season-long commitment.

Flight prices are exorbitant, and many supporters will have to use ingenuity and a combination of flights then taxis and trains from neighbouring countries to reach the city. Hotel prices have also, inevitably, ballooned, not helped by the fact the UEFA and sponsors have pre-booked much of the available accommodation.

For those determined to attend, allocations of under 6,000 tickets for each club seem laughable, given the stadium capacity of some 68,000. The cost and complexity, plus extended time off work, has put many loyal supporters off going but, regardless, the allocation for competing clubs should clearly be far higher.

Baku airport cannot cope with high volumes of air traffic, making it unsuitable to host a final where thousands of supporters would fly in. Rather than use this as a reason to not award the game to Baku, UEFA have stated that the ticket allocations are so small precisely because of these capacity issues!

Rather than subsidising travel as a gesture of thanks for their support, which the clubs could certainly afford, both Arsenal and Chelsea are complicit in fleecing fans with the outrageous £979 day trips both clubs are operating, through ‘official partner’ Thomas Cook.

Enough is enough. As independent supporter organisations at Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC we call for supporter dialogue with UEFA with a view to implementing the following principles for European finals in future seasons:

  • ​A cap on ticket pricing
  • An allocation of tickets to the two competing clubs that reflects the importance of those supporters to the spectacle and atmosphere
  • Consumer protection measures to at least stop the practice of repricing existing deals and cancelling pre-booked hotel rooms
  • Selection of locations for UEFA finals that have the transport and accommodation infrastructure to cope with an influx of overseas supporters
  • Flexibility over the choice of final location at least until the quarter final results are known.

No Charges Against Chelsea Supporter Accused Of Racially Abusing Raheem Sterling

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust notes that the Chelsea supporter who was vilified by the media for allegedly racially abusing Raheem Sterling when Chelsea played Man City last December, will not be prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service due to a lack of evidence of any racial abuse.

We are clearly very disappointed that the speed with which both the club and the media pre-judged the supporter led to his season ticket being withdrawn and in addition, the loss of his job due to the ensuing media frenzy based on unproven allegations.

We will be lobbying the club to ask for the reinstatement of the supporter’s season ticket as well as the three other supporters whose season tickets were withdrawn at that time.

Take Part in the 2019 Chelsea Supporters Trust Annual Survey

It’s that time of year again! The Trust’s seventh Annual Survey is now open. Thanks to your participation the Trust will continue to operate on a mandate that truly represents our membership’s views about the issues affecting the Club.

Once the survey has closed, we will produce our findings and then sit down with the Club to discuss the questions raised. Your opinions really do make a difference. 

The Closing Date is Monday 22nd April.

Members have been emailed their own special link to the survey (please check junk mail folders if you have not received it).

You can also access the survey on the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CST_Survey19

You can read about responses to previous surveys in the survey section of our website.

Thank you for your participation!

Chelsea Supporters Trust
“Making your voice heard”

Experiencing Anti-Semitism at Stamford Bridge

The issue of anti-Semitic chanting at Chelsea matches has received widespread coverage in the media recently. The Club and the Trust have both publicly condemned such chanting. While it is true that the majority of Chelsea supporters do not behave in a racist and anti-Semitic manner, a minority continue to chant words that are offensive to Jewish Chelsea supporters and indeed our owner, Roman Abramovich.

What is often overlooked is the impact this has on those who hear it in and around the stadium on a match day. We were contacted by a mother and son who experienced this at first hand and gave us permission to share their experience of anti-Semitism at Stamford Bridge. The following account exemplifies what it means to our own Jewish supporters who hear anti-Semitic chanting during matches.

Mother and son Karen and Jack are lifelong Chelsea supporters. On Saturday 22 December, they attended the Chelsea v Leicester match at Stamford Bridge. (Names have been changed).

Karen: My Dad was born in Worlds End, Chelsea. He lived in Parsons Green, and had a season ticket. His father was a supporter when they created the club in 1905. So my family have been supporting Chelsea since the very beginning.

I’ve been going since the late 70s. So when my kids were born there was no question about who they would support. We are all members – that’s how we buy tickets. Alternatively we sometimes use friends’ season tickets when they can’t go.

For the game against Leicester, we sat in the Matthew Harding Lower – on the East Stand side. It was a friend’s season tickets. The majority of the people who sit around those seats are really friendly.

Chelsea is a big part of my family’s life. We’re British, and we’re also Jewish. But we are very much a Chelsea family and ethnicity should not be relevant to our love and support of our beloved Chelsea.

 Jack: I’m at university in the Midlands, and I try and get tickets for games nearby. I went to the Wolves game recently – I was in the home end! So I had to remain quiet the whole game.

I went to West Brom when we won the league. Even though it was impossible to get tickets we went to a Chelsea pub close to the ground to soak up the atmosphere. It was a great night.

But there were people in that pub – Chelsea fans – singing about Spurs fans, and how they don’t have foreskins. People from my age into their 50s. That’s out of order. There is ignorance there, but why would you make a statement like that?

Karen: Against Leicester there was somebody behind me and Jack, and he was chanting a lot. He was really loud: one of those people that want to try and get everyone singing.

He started chanting ‘we hate Tottenham’.

And then he suddenly shouted ‘We hate Y-ds’. It was a white guy in his 40s. His mate told him: “Be careful” and he stopped.

Jack: It happened about five or six times. He was screaming it – him on his own. I was close to turning around, but I just felt that I didn’t really want that confrontation. My whole mood changed after that. You’re at a game of football, and you don’t expect to hear any of this. I was so disappointed. I just thought: ‘Why on earth is that relevant to a game of football?’

Karen: I thought: ‘These are not my seats. I’m sat next to someone who I don’t really know, and I wasn’t sure how they might react if I made an issue of it. Later, when I mentioned it, they said: ‘I would have reported him’.

I just felt really uncomfortable. Disturbed, I would say. I was so disappointed. I just thought: ‘Why on earth is that relevant to a game of football?’

I know this happens, but it was so close by. It felt like an assault.

I don’t like what Tottenham call themselves. I find it uncomfortable, and it certainly isn’t helpful. It is meant to be an offensive term. But whatever Tottenham call themselves, it doesn’t ever excuse people shouting about hatred for Jews.

I was left feeling: ‘What have I done to him? Why would that man, or anyone, not like us – simply because we are Jewish?’ They don’t know me or Jack.

Jack: It has definitely got worse in recent seasons. I think social media has a bit of a role to play in it. It is a bit stupid and short-sighted though, especially as our owner, Roman Abramovich, is Jewish. It is ridiculous that it is that aspect, with Tottenham or whoever, that someone would pick on.

Karen: Should anyone not understand: the word is a derogatory word about Jewish people. Whoever you might be directing it at: if Jewish people are present, then it us who are hurt by it.

But what I don’t understand is this… If you know that ‘Y-d’ is a bad word, but you don’t know what it means, then how could you possibly think it acceptable to shout it out in public?

There has been so much in the media about this, and about stopping it, and people are surely well aware that it’s not acceptable. There is maybe some testing of the boundaries going on here.

Jack: There are a million things you can sing about football. You don’t have to bring in race, religion, whatever. It’s not relevant to sport at all. It is really upsetting for anyone – for any race or religion – to receive targeted abuse. Even if it is not calculated to directly hate those people.

Karen: As I said, I’m British, and I’m Jewish. But I’m proud to be British, even though there are times when it just makes me ashamed of some people who are the same nationality. Like a lot of Jews, I do have a family link with the Holocaust – relatives who escaped and some who were exterminated.

If you said back then, in the 1930s, that things would end up as they did – then a lot of people would have been insistent that it couldn’t happen. It did happen.

Little things have the potential to become terrible things. Shouting abuse about any race or religion is dangerous.

Jack: I think the club’s Campaign against Anti-Semitism is brilliant. I think they should try to educate and reform people. Teaching people about why this is a problem, for us as Jews, is important. I think there needs to be a wide understanding of that.