Europa League final: Uefa says ticketless fans ‘could be a problem’ in Dublin

A general view of the Aviva Stadium
The Aviva Stadium in Dublin will host this year’s Europa League final

Uefa says ticketless fans “could be a problem” at the Europa League final at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on 22 May.

It “would be extremely challenging” to accommodate supporters if clubs with bigger fanbases reached the final, says general secretary Theodore Theodoridis.

Liverpool, Rangers, West Ham and Brighton could all be in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

In 2022, Uefa apologised after Liverpool fans were teargassed before the Champions League final in Paris.

Uefa and French authorities initially blamed ticketless fans for the events.

However, an independent report found Uefa bore “primary responsibility” for the chaotic scenes that led to kick-off being delayed by 36 minutes.

There was also criticism of the 2023 Champions League final in Istanbul, with fans reportedlyexternal-link having to walk extended distances along busy roads, queue for hours for transport to and from the stadium and being left without water as Manchester City beat Inter Milan on 10 June.

Liverpool and Rangers, who have reached recent European finals, have huge fanbases with lots of supporters from the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

West Ham took around 20,000 fans to Prague for their Europa Conference League final victory against Fiorentina in June 2023.

“There are a couple of pairings that would be extremely challenging in terms of finding ways to accommodate everyone who wanted to be in Dublin,” Theodoridis said.

“We have gone to reserve Croke Park as a potential viewing venue but it might not be enough.

“We work with the local authority and Football Supporters Europe but the number of supporters without tickets could be a problem.”

Uefa outlines new format for European competitions

Theodoridis was speaking alongside Uefa’s vice general secretary Giorgio Marchetti as the pair outlined the new format for European competitions which will come into force next season.

All three tournaments will expand to 36 teams, with the Champions League and Europa League featuring eight match rounds and the Europa Conference League six.

Each club will play a range of opponents of varying standards based around their co-efficient ranking. Uefa has confirmed the 18 games in the final match round of all three competitions in January 2025 will involve every game starting at the same time.

Uefa has created one ‘exclusive’ week for all three competitions, meaning the opening stage of their competitions will run across 10 midweeks rather than six at present.

This will involve using three dates where EFL Cup matches are currently played and the January midweek used for FA Cup replays.

It had been expected the EFL Cup semi-finals would revert to a single game and FA Cup replays in rounds three and four would be scrapped as part of a wide-ranging ‘New Deal’ with the Premier League centred around providing funding lower down the pyramid.

However, with no deal yet agreed, domestic cup competitions remain unaltered, which is almost certain to lead to fixture clashes in European weeks.

This has happened before, with Manchester City and Liverpool both playing Premier League games recently in weeks where European matches were taking place.

However, apart from the demands placed on players, it is not an ideal situation for broadcasters.

Uefa will resist the ultimate action though, which would be to prevent the EFL Cup winners entering their competition.

“We respect the independence of domestic associations,” said Theodoridis. “It is not for us to say whether you should have one cup competition.

“What we are trying to do is accommodate all teams. We do not want to get involved in domestic issues.”

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