UEFA slammed over wheelchair spaces at Champions League final 1 month ago

UEFA slammed over wheelchair spaces at Champions League final

UEFA has provided just 93 wheelchair positions

The Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association (LDSA) has said UEFA's allocation for wheelchair users at the Champions League final "is bordering on exclusion and discrimination".

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Liverpool will face off against Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid side at Stade de France on Saturday night. 

The stadium, situated in Paris, has 550 wheelchair user spaces. However, UEFA has announced that it has provided 93 wheelchair positions for the match, with each team getting 38.

With the final being moved from St Petersburg following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, UEFA claimed that it was 'not possible to implement optimal solutions for more wheelchair positions'.

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"For an event of this size, Uefa would usually aim to identify a higher number of [wheelchair] positions, but due to operational constraints (e.g. security, poor view, etc.) and the short preparation time, it was not possible to implement optimal solutions for more wheelchair positions," said European football's governing body.

UEFA wheelchair Champions League

LDSA criticise UEFA

The allocation has been met with intense criticism, with the LDSA expressing their anger at the situation. 

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"We're really angry about it," said Ted Morris, secretary of the LDSA.

He added: "It's not fair when bays are available. It is just wrong.

"I'd like Uefa to clarify what they are being used for. This affects both teams."

It is thought that Liverpool contacted UEFA three weeks ago to request more tickets for disabled supporters, but were informed that there were no more available.

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The Reds are also waiting on UEFA to reply to the club after asking if there are any returns or if more will become available.

"Liverpool have done everything in their power to help with this," Morris said.

UEFA wheelchair Champions League

Questions asked over other wheelchair spaces

Level Playing Field - a campaign group for disabled sports fans - has also written to UEFA to ask about the issue.

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A statement read: "Today Level Playing Field wrote to UEFA to ask ‘why only 14% of available wheelchair user spaces have been offered to disabled supporters who might require this accessible space.’

"We have recently been made aware, by several enquiries, that Liverpool Football Club has been allocated only 38 wheelchair user spaces for the Champions League final at the Stade de France in Paris.

"We believe Real Madrid has been allocated the same amount, 38 wheelchair spaces. That’s 76 in total.

"However, there are 550 wheelchair user spaces available at the Stade de France? That’s only 14% of the available space allocation to both sets of fans. What has happened to the other 474 spaces?

"We understand that some spaces have not been sold due to poor infrastructure. We have asked UEFA to clarify this, and does that mean that UEFA believes that the 474 spaces not being sold are not fit for purpose?

"The Stade de France in Paris also happens to be the home of the Paris 2024 Olympics/Paralympics. Does this mean that both events will have the same issues with poor infrastructure?

"We have also asked UEFA for assurances that these wheelchair user spaces are not being used for camera/media positioning or given to corporate partners that do not have a disability?

"The Champions League winners and their fans will feel jubilation, and the losers will feel the sting of their defeat, this is what football is all about, and that pure emotion of sporting drama should be available to as many supporters as possible.

"We call on UEFA to review their wheelchair allocation and provide more accessible wheelchair user space to the fans who make the Champions League final special. With the Champions League final seen as one of the most lucrative sporting occasions globally, there should be a commitment to investing in infrastructure, not lessening the opportunity. Currently what’s being provided in total to Liverpool and Real Madrid is just over 0.1% of the overall capacity of Stade de France. This is entirely unacceptable.  Any future Finals and Tournaments need to be looking to provide, not withhold."

UEFA wheelchair Champions League

Ticket allocation criticised

Liverpool and Real Madrid each received 19,618 tickets for the game, despite the stadium having a capacity of 75,000.

A further 12,000 tickets were put on general sale via a ballot, which closed before the semi-final second legs were played.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin claimed the distribution and pricing of Champions League final tickets is "the system that works" as it aids clubs.

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