Liverpool welcome ‘productive’ talks with UEFA and Roma over fan safety
The English club are set to take 5,000 supporters to the Italian capital.
Liverpool have held a “positive and productive” meeting with UEFA, Roma and the Italian authorities as they seek reassurances over the safety of fans for next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg.
The Premier League club took the unprecedented step of requesting an appointment in the Italian capital on Friday as they were unhappy with the lack of clarity in arrangements for Wednesday’s match.
Liverpool had made their feelings known from the moment the draw came out but concerns were heightened by the attack on 53-year-old Sean Cox prior to this week’s match at Anfield, for which two Italian men have been charged.
Press Association Sport understands the club believe important progress has been made, especially in relation to meeting points, transport arrangements to and from the Stadio Olimpico, gate opening times and important cultural information.
They are still awaiting final confirmation on some specific aspects, including a ‘fact sheet’ which the authorities will ask Liverpool to distribute, and the club are striving for a swift solution but stress the priority is to provide certainty for travelling fans.
“Liverpool Football Club would like to thank UEFA, AS Roma and the Italian authorities for providing the most up-to-date detail on operational procedures ahead of the Champions League tie on Wednesday,” read a club statement.
“A positive and productive meeting has taken place in Rome today with all those involved displaying intent for a collaborative approach and a commitment to making the event a great sporting occasion.
“Important guidance for travelling Liverpool supporters was discussed at length and the process is already under way to refine that information so it can be shared with those attending at the earliest opportunity.
“The club, UEFA, AS Roma and the Italian authorities will continue to work together to deliver further information and we thank supporters for their patience while we collate, review and disseminate this guidance.”
There have been claims in the Italian media from unnamed sources with no supporting evidence suggesting among the 5,000-strong group of travelling fans around 1,000 are known trouble-makers.
It is understood this has been greeted with dismay and annoyance within the club.
Merseyside Police, who have no evidence to substantiate such claims, have pointed out so far this season there has been no evidence of any problems at European away games.
“I am not aware of any football-related arrests of Liverpool fans in any of the European away matches during this campaign,” said chief superintendent Dave Charnock.
“Liverpool has a great sporting history in Europe and I am sure that supporters would want to further enhance the reputation of football on Merseyside by being ambassadors for their club and the city whilst contributing to the atmosphere inside the ground.
“We know there is great rivalry between fans but we also know that the majority of fans are well behaved and respectful and want to travel to Rome to enjoy the experience of what we hope to be a fantastic match.”
He added: “While we understand and appreciate that many Liverpool fans will want to travel to Rome, I would continue to encourage fans who do not have tickets to not travel.”