In the coming weeks, football fans across Europe will protest UEFAs outdated ban on standing at European games under the slogan ‘Europe wants to stand’.
The protests began with the Champions League tie between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspurs last night.
In addition to in-game actions, fan groups including the FSF, have written an open letter to UEFA calling for a change to the ban on standing in European games in place since 1998.
“We urge you to reconsider this ban and give us the choice of whether to sit or stand at football matches,” the joint letter to UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin says.
“As you are no doubt aware, the standing ban was closely linked to several disasters in European stadia and was intended as a quick solution to improve the safety of spectators.
“However, a number of long-term evaluations have concluded that the existence of standing sections was not the cause of these tragedies.”
The co-signed letter was co-ordinated by Football Supporters Europe (FSE), the umbrella organisation for national fan groups across the continent, of which the FSF was a founder member.
FSE point to the success of standing accommodation in Germany and the unsuccessful attempts to force fans to sit down across the top of English football in the last 30 years.
“The fact that it is possible to provide standing sections without safety or security risks at football matches is clearly evident in Germany,” the letter says. “Where approximately 100,000 fans stand up every weekend to support their team, contributing to the much-vaunted atmosphere at Bundesliga matches.
“In several countries, such as Scotland, the Netherlands or France, the strict ban on standing has been lifted in recent years and the same currently is being considered in other countries.”
The national supporter organisations also argue that a relaxation of the all-seater policy would dramatically improve the atmosphere at Europa League and Champions League matches – while giving clubs greater flexibility on ticket pricing.
“It is our belief that stadia must be open to people from all walks of life,” they told UEFA. “The provision of tickets in standing areas is one of the easiest ways to achieve this objective.”
Europe wants to stand – signatories:
- Südkurve München, Bündnis Südtribüne Dortmund, Nordwestkurve Frankfurt, Nordkurve Mönchengladbach (Germany)
- Football Supporters Europe (Europe-wide)
- Belgian Supporters (Belgium)
- Danske Fodbold Fanklubber (Denmark)
- Football Supporters’ Federation (England & Wales)
- Association Nationale des Supporters (France)
- Pro Fans / Unsere Kurve / Bündnis aktiver Fussball Fans (Germany)
- Supporterscollectief Nederland (Netherlands) (Netherlands)
- Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs (Northern Ireland)
- Norsk Supporterallianse (Norway)
- Irish Supporters Network (Republic of Ireland)
- Federación de Accionistas y Socios del Fútbol Español (Spain)
- Svenska Fotbollssupporterunionen (Sweden)
- Associação Portuguesa de Defesa do Adepto – APDA (Portugal)
- FSF Cymru (Wales)
Thanks to PA Images for the image used in this article.