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Champions League: Sports minister wants fans to have input on 2024 final at Wembley
Sports Minister Stuart Andrew has pledged to look into how fans can have a greater say over the 2024 Champions League final at Wembley to avoid a repeat of the 2022 final in Paris.
Fans were penned in and teargassed outside Stade de France as kick-off was delayed by 36 minutes.
“We should be ensuring the voices of fans are listened to,” said Andrew.
An independent report published this month said Uefa bears “primary responsibility” for the chaotic scenes.
Uefa apologised to Liverpool fans after it initially blamed them for creating the disorder by arriving late for the final against Real Madrid, and in some cases with counterfeit tickets.
“It is vital that lessons are learned from this near-disaster and action is taken to prevent it from happening again,” said Andrew.
“Uefa has recognised that they made a series of mistakes in their handling of the event and have apologised to fans who attended.”
Andrew said his department have asked Uefa to outline how they will respond to recommendations made in the independent report.
“I welcome Uefa’s commitment to implement those recommendations, their engagement with fans’ groups last week and the further apology offered by their general secretary,” Andrew said.
“It’s vital Uefa continues this dialogue with supporter organisations and that an action plan is published as quickly as possible.”
Andrew said Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer will meet France’s sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera “in the coming weeks” to discuss the French government’s response to the independent review after they stood with Uefa in blaming Liverpool fans for the chaos.
Labour MP Ian Byrne, a survivor of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster who also attended the final in Paris, said it is important fans “have a voice” around the organisation of the 2024 final.
“They’re [fans] the ones that go to matches, they’re the ones that have got the experience. They don’t get listened to enough,” he said.
“We didn’t get listened to in Paris. Lots of times our voices aren’t heard.”Byrne added: “We need the FA to provide leadership and show courage to ensure that our demands regarding Paris are met in the halls of Uefa.”
Byrne urged the UK government to “keep the political pressure” on French president Emmanuel Macron and Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin to “ensure a full apology is made and the recommendations of the report are met”.