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Rangers, Eintracht unite in Europa League complaints

Scottish Premiership football club Rangers and German Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt have joined forces to make recommendations to UEFA following what they described as “significant organisational issues” at the Europa League final in Seville earlier this month.

The match, which Eintracht won on penalties, took place on May 18 at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, home of LaLiga club Sevilla.

Both Eintracht and Rangers have expressed concern over organisational problems surrounding the game, and the two clubs last week met with representatives of the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) group to debrief and discuss several issues.

In a joint statement, the two clubs and FSE said that organisational issues could have led to more serious problems, adding that it was the reactions of both sets of fans and their “mutual respect” towards each other that more severe injuries did not occur.

The statement criticises the lack of food and water available to fans, as well as organisational problems such as policing and body searches. Rangers, Eintracht and FSE received a “huge number” of complaints and witness statements from fans at the stadium, which has a capacity of 42,000.

Rangers, Eintracht and FSE will now work jointly to report back to UEFA and the local public authorities in Spain and make recommendations to ensure no such problems are encountered at future European finals.

The statement said: “Fans spend a lot of effort, time and money following their teams all over Europe and expect to be treated with respect and dignity while attending football games. This expectation was not met at all at the Europa League final in Sevilla.”

UEFA has issued an apology to fans who attended the match, saying that the food and drinks kiosks at the stadium could not cope with the “extraordinary demand” from supporters.

UEFA is also under scrutiny for the scenes which marred Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris.

The governing body has commissioned an independent report into the events, which saw kick-off delayed by more than half an hour as thousands of fans remained outside of the stadium.

Liverpool has said it is “hugely disappointed” at the stadium entry issues and the breakdown of the security perimeter that fans faced. Videos circulated on social media showed police using pepper spray and tear gas as supporters tried to scan their tickets at the turnstiles.

Image: inkiboo/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size