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Fans deserve more from UEFA, says Andy Burnham

Fans deserve more from UEFA, says Andy Burnham

In a recent statement, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham criticized UEFA for its treatment of football supporters and called for significant improvements to be made for matchgoing fans. Burnham referred to the recent Champions League final in Istanbul, where both Manchester City and Inter Milan fans faced numerous issues, including a lack of toilets, water, and transportation problems around the Ataturk Stadium.

Speaking at the European Football Fans congress, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin acknowledged that “not everything was perfect” during the final. However, Burnham argued that it was time for UEFA to show more respect towards fans and make progress in addressing their concerns.

Burnham expressed his frustration on behalf of Manchester City supporters, stating that he had spoken to them about their experience in Istanbul and the anger they felt towards the way they were treated. He described the situation as appalling, with fans left to their own devices despite having traveled long distances to reach the stadium.

The mayor also highlighted the fact that this incident occurred just one year after a final in Paris where a potential tragedy was narrowly avoided. Burnham emphasized that the issues faced by fans in Istanbul were not isolated incidents and urged UEFA to take them seriously.

Burnham suggested that UEFA has a “relationship of convenience” with football supporters in Europe. While the organization is quick to use the voice of supporters to its advantage, such as during the European Super League controversy, it seems to neglect their welfare during ordinary competitions and matches.

Recalling the congestion and tear-gassing of Liverpool fans outside the Stade de France just 12 months prior, Burnham deemed UEFA’s failure to learn important lessons inexcusable. He emphasized that football’s governing bodies cannot continue to mistreat English football supporters and expect them to endure such conditions.

Burnham called for a stronger commitment from UEFA to prioritize the welfare of football supporters. He also stressed the need to eradicate tragedy chanting in English football and across the world, advocating for unity and respect among fans in times of tragedy and condemning those who exploit such situations.

As a prominent figure in Greater Manchester, Burnham’s comments highlight the growing demand for UEFA to take concrete action in addressing the concerns of football supporters and ensuring their safety and well-being during matches and events.

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