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Premier League clubs' fans want improved UEFA finals experience

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Premier League clubs' fans want improved UEFA finals experience
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League Group Stage Draw - Grimaldi Forum, Monaco - August 31, 2018 UEFA Champions League and Europa League logos displayed during the draw REUTERS/Eric Gaillard   -   Copyright  ERIC GAILLARD(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Fans of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have together submitted a list of demands to European soccer’s governing body UEFA after numerous complaints following the Champions League and Europa League finals last season.

A joint statement by Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Spirit of Shankly and Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust covers various problems such as inadequate ticket allocations and inconvenient travel arrangements.

“We have drawn up a six-point action plan to improve the supporter experience,” the statement read.

“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.”

The clubs’ supporters called for an 80% allocation of tickets to be made available to the finalists after Liverpool and Spurs were allocated only 16,613 tickets each for the Champions League showpiece at Atletico Madrid’s 68,000-seat Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Suggestions were also made to choose stadiums with a minimum capacity of 60,000 for the Europa League final and 75,000 for the Champions League final, helping to keep ticket prices affordable.

Arsenal and Chelsea fans struggled to get to Baku for the Europa League showpiece due to a lack of direct flights to Azerbaijan’s capital.

Supporters asked UEFA to pick cities with good connectivity and the capacity to deal with thousands of visitors.

They also demanded that the host country should have a clean human rights record and equality policy after Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan did not travel to Baku over fears for his safety due to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“We call upon UEFA to strengthen its dialogue with fans and request that they start by engaging with groups such as ourselves to discuss the proposals to improve arrangements for fans at the final stages of the Champions and Europa Leagues,” the statement added.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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