Exclusive: Governing body asked to provide clarity as 76% of wheelchair bays will not be used at Stade de France for showdown between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris
Liverpool’s Disabled Supporters Association have hit out at UEFA after learning that 76% of wheelchair bays will not be used at Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid, describing the decision as “totally unacceptable”. The Reds have been allocated only 38 spaces despite there being room for 550 designated places at Stade de France.
The charity Level Playing Field has written to UEFA seeking an explanation after learning that Real have been offered the same amount, meaning more than three quarters of wheelchair areas will be left empty.
“This would be a meagre allocation in any circumstances for a game of this magnitude but given the Stade de France usually has 550 spaces available it is totally unacceptable,” Ted Morris of the LDSA told Mirror Football. “We have over 200 wheelchair bays at Anfield and as a result of the shortfall many of our supporters who are wheelchair users have been left disappointed.
“The key question is what has happened to the other 474 bays? But whatever the reason it has resulted in disabled football fans being forced out of a massive game and that can’t ever be acceptable.”
Level Playing Field said that they believe “poor infrastructure” is to blame for so few bays being made available but there was no clarity on what that meant exactly. “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 charity said in a statement.
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“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.
“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.”
Mirror Football have contacted UEFA for comment.
On Tuesday Liverpool said that they would give out lifetimes bans to any supporter found to have resold tickets for the game. The club has been given an allocation of less than 20,000 and fans have had to enter a ballot to secure a seat.
Thirteen accounts have been traced and sanctions have been promised with the Anfield side working in conjunction with Merseyside Police. “If a supporter has been found to have offered a ticket for sale online, this could result in a lifetime ban for that individual,” a club statement said.