Man City fans’ experience shows UEFA haven’t learnt fast enough from Paris

A year on from the events of the 2022 Champions League Final, Man City supporters’ experience in Istanbul shows UEFA haven’t made changes quickly enough.

Liverpool supporters were subject to a terrifying ordeal in Paris last year, as supporters were crushed and attacked outside the Stade de France.

In the aftermath, UEFA were blamed along with the French authorities, and despite promises to improve, scenes at this year’s Champions League final demonstrate that change hasn’t come quickly enough.

This year’s showpiece event was hosted at the Ataturk Stadium outside Istanbul, where Liverpool won their fifth European Cup in 2005.

On that occasion, the journey to the ground was romanticised to some extent afterwards, but the poor suitability of the location was put back into the spotlight on Saturday.

With the metro packed and traffic at a stand still, Man City fans walked for miles, some pushed in wheelchairs, along the side of a busy road.

Things weren’t any better when they arrived at the Ataturk Stadium.

Supporters were met with inadequately sized gates, meaning long queues built up that weren’t moving – a similar situation to Paris.

Fans were told to arrive at the Ataturk from early in the afternoon, with shuttle buses taking them from the city centre.

This was supposedly in order to avoid similar scenes to last year.

Any event’s planning that requires supporters to arrive hours in advance, though, is clearly not fit for purpose.

Over the last year, UEFA have been working with football supporters groups, including Spirit of Shankly (SOS), to make football safer and more accessible going forwards.

In an interview with This Is Anfield, outgoing SOS chair Joe Blott and Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association chair Ted Morris both believed UEFA were committed to improving fans’ experiences, after working closely with the governing body over the last 12 months.

Morris said: “To facilitate change, people have to be willing and open to to change. And by what’s happening with UEFA, it’s clear [for me] to see.”

Blott had similar feelings, saying: “I think we’re starting to make progress.

“I do have that glimmer of hope that this is different UEFA than we’ve experienced before.”

Unfortunately, as events in Turkey demonstrate, this change hasn’t come quickly enough.