Football fans will be permitted to attend away fixtures in Europe from next week,
according to leading fan group Football Supporters Europe (FSE).
Pressure has been growing on European football’s governing body to lift the ban,
with Manchester United and Ajax urging UEFA to reconsider their stance last month
with fans set to be shut out for the start of the Champions League season.
And FSE, who released their own statement in August urging UEFA to drop the
restriction, have confirmed that visiting fans will now be allowed to attend matches
in time for the first round of European club fixtures next week.
The group claim that local restrictions and travel requirements between countries
could still damage fans’ chances of watching their team play away, but UEFA will
remove any ban of their own regarding travelling supporters.
A statement on Twitter read: ‘FSE can confirm that away fans will be permitted to
attend European club competitions matches from next week. Local restrictions &
travel requirement might still apply.’
In June, the decision was taken by the UEFA Executive Committee to put a stop to
away supporters being admitted into matches for the entirety of the qualifying and
play-off phases for their three flagship tournaments.
Should UEFA confirm this change of stance, English fans could head on European
away days as early as next week.
Manchester United visit Swiss side Young Boys next Tuesday, with Switzerland moved
onto the United Kingdom’s green list last Monday.
Meanwhile, West Ham play their first-ever Europa League group stage tie away at
Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday. Croatia is also on the green list but the UK Government
website claims it is on a watchlist about a potential move to the amber list.
The rule change would also see Manchester City and Chelsea face the prospect of
welcoming visiting fans from abroad into their stadia for their European matches.
Pep Guardiola’s City host German side RB Leipzig in the middle of next week, with
Chelsea hosting Zenit St Petersburg from Russia. Leicester City also have a European
home match next week, with the Foxes playing Napoli at the King Power Stadium
Revealing the decision had been taken to ban away supporters, the UEFA Executive
Committee said it was ‘prudent to propose that fans would not be allowed. They
added that the ‘very high number of matches’ weighed in on the move.
‘With this decision, UEFA intends to act responsibly at a time where restrictive
measures are still in place in order to avoid the spread of infections,’ the statement
added, while also highlighting that ‘sporting fairness’ was ‘preserved’.
Every affected club had been informed about the directive from UEFA ahead of the
draws being revealed for their qualifying ties.
The same ban applied for September’s international fixtures, too, with UEFA and FIFA
confirming the crackdown as a result of a ‘spike’ in coronavirus cases. In a letter sent
to national associations, they said the decision was taken for ‘safety.