Meeting #1 with Glasgow Host City Stakeholders

Last week, ATACs Chair and Vice Chair were invited to join the first of several meetings with the Glasgow Host City stakeholders, to discuss the plans for fans returning to Hampden for the Euro2020 matches, and some of the plans and mitigations in place. The meeting was attended by those on the Glasgow Host City team, SFA security, Police Scotland, and Football Supporters Europe.

Transport

We discussed the various plans for travelling to Hampden. It is expected that the majority of those heading to the stadium will begin their match day experience somewhere in Glasgow city and head to Hampden from there. Shuttle buses will be running from the City Centre.  Walking routes will be signposted and there will be volunteers and stewards similar to what was in place for the Commonwealth Games. Given the current situation, Walking from the city is the preferred option, and would avoid various stages of queueing for fans.

There will also be some supporters buses running direct to Hampden, although reduced numbers due to social distancing. There will be a parking tool launched on the UEFA website for bus organisers to claim a parking permit. There will be several areas where buses will be directed to. More info on when this parking tool launches will be forthcoming and ATAC will communicate this with all of our clubs, and the extended list of clubs we hold who run buses.

Fanzone

As was recently reported in the media, the Fanzone for Glasgow has now been relocated to Glasgow Green – plans still being finalised, but the intention is this is planning to be open for all 31 days of the tournament.  Similar to the one in London it will be ticketed and tickets will be free but applied for through a ballot.  It will show all matches and on tournament rest days there will likely be cultural type events.

Heading to the Stadium

The stadium itself will open 3 hours before kick off. Fans are encouraged to get in to the stadium as early as possible. There will likely be half hour entry slots for ticket holders, although we are unsure at present how these will be allocated.

On closer approach to Hampden there will be three perimeter entrances.  Your ticket will determine which one you should be heading towards.  We were told that stadium approach and entry will be different to what we are used to. There will be security checks on approach including searches with “wands” similar to what airport security use.  Your virtual ticket will be activated at a certain point as you approach the stadium.  Socially distanced queues will be in place to enter the stadium and there may be more than one search as you approach.

These security protocols will be in place for everyone that attends.  If you arrive at 10 mins to kick off then you will need to go through all these processes just as the fans who arrived 90 mins before you did.  Leaving entry to the last minute will risk missing a decent chunk of the match.  Do not leave it to the last minute.

Once inside the stadium we are unsure what facilities will be open, but as we are already aware, there have been no changes to the alcohol at football legislation.  We did point out that there needs to be something on offer to realistically attract fans inside two hours before kick off.  We did also point out that our 2pm match will have a totally different feel to our 8pm kick off. The organisation team agreed, and committed to continuing to work on this.

UEFA Euro 2020 Fans App

The team shared some of the excellent content available on the UEFA Euro 2020 Fans App, and we would encourage fans to download this

Future Meetings

For most of us this will be the first time we’ve been at a professional football match with a crowd for over a year. They will provide great opportunities to show that Hampden, Glasgow and Scotland are capable of delivering events, and we fully support the efforts of the Host City team to host these matches in the difficult circumstances we currently find ourselves in.  We are aiming to have joined up comms with the SFA and Host City teams as we go forward. ATAC have taken an action to approach the clubs on the Supporter’s Bus Lists to establish how many we are anticipating using that method of transport, and we will meet again with the stakeholders in a few weeks time.

As always, if any supporters have any points for us to ask or raise, or any concerns to get in touch with us wither through your ATAC Club rep, or with us directly, ahead of future meetings.

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Meeting #2 with London Host City Stakeholders – 30/04/2021

ATAC Chair Martin Riddell, and Vice Chair Graeme Baxter, attended a 2nd meeting on Friday 30th April, again hosted by the MET Police’s Lead Planner for the Euros, in follow up to the meeting at the start of May. In attendance were representatives from the MET Police, the FA, Football Supporters Europe, Greater London Authority / Mayors office, British Transport Police, Police Scotland, along with reps from the England and Croatian Supporters Clubs, and the Czech National Team SLO.

Below are some notes from the meeting, and a further meeting is planned for Mid May.

Ticketing and Capacities
UEFA doing reverse ballot at the end of this week.  This means that fans who have tickets in the general sale should know their outcome.  PNA (Participating Nation Allocation) tickets are dealt with by each FA although they are ultimately sold via the UEFA portal.  For Czech and Croatia fans, their FAs may give preference to their fans living in the UK when it comes to cancelling their tickets as a result of 25% capacity.   In England’s case, the FA cancelled all PNA tickets and are now re-balloting/re-selling based on their fans that have the most caps (the equivalent to our loyalty points). once the new PN Allocations are confirmed. We asked if bubble/same household seating would likely offer the opportunity of a small increase in our allocation, however it appears a directive from UEFA states that ALL seats will be socially distanced, and have 3 or 4 between them, irrespective of who you order with.

If any FA decided that they can’t use their allocation due to travel restrictions then they can return these to UEFA.  There is not yet an agreed process to what would then happen with these tickets, and that would be for UEFA to decide.

The current English roadmap suggests that they may move from 25% to 50% capacity between their 2nd and 3rd group games.  Current plans are that all their group matches will be at 25%.  Any move to 50% would be based on test event data.  This will be important to us for when we play our semi final and final at Wembley!!!

International Travel

There is no exemption from travel restrictions for any fan attending matches. The next international travel announcement is due ahead of the 17 May.  There is an expectation that this will introduce a strict traffic light system of quarantine.  For example, Red = hotel quarantine, Amber = home/friend/relative quarantine, Green = no quarantine.  We had talked before about hypothetical bubble shuttles to get away fans into matches.  This would have meant charter plane, bussed straight to match and returned the same way post-match.  This now looks unlikely based on the potentially stricter travel guidelines above.  The Croatian rep asked if quarantine would be based at country level as they have areas within the country on different levels of infection.  It was felt that the travel guidelines would be country specific with no allowance for regions within a country.

For our other group opponents both the Croatian and Czech fans reps said that travelling numbers would be very low if quarantining was in place.  Normally they would have expected a few thousand from each country to travel but they will have very few as things currently stand.  As mentioned above, this may mean that their FAs begin to identify Croatian and Czech fans living in the UK to get their tickets.  This may not be possible or desired by their FAs.  It was also mentioned that the UEFA reverse ballot may take into account fans of Croatia and Czech living in UK to ensure that they have some representation at Hampden and Wembley.

Our Match(es) at Wembley

The Trafalgar Square fanzone mentioned last month will be in operation for all matches at Wembley and all England fixtures.  No decision yet on the capacity but as stated last month, this is for watching matches rather than a pre-match party.  It will be ticketed.  We asked for alternative suggestions for Scotland fans to gather at but there are currently no plans for this.

With no current travel restrictions in place for UK travel there is an expectation that many will travel to London.  Keeping in mind that the capacity in bars in England just now is 30% then we were advised it would make sense to discourage ticketless fans. Anyone who does still plans to attended should plan accordingly and book in to places to avoid disappointment.

A few final bits and pieces. 

  • The scheduled trains from Scotland to London are now very limited availability. 
  • Charter trains were not viable due to reduced capacities and social distancing. 
  • We are aware that there are some supporters buses arranged – expectation is that these will be reduced capacity in line with travel guidelines
  • Face coverings and social distancing requirements should be observed in London on the underground etc.  No drinking alcohol is permitted on the underground.
  • Dry trains may be implemented in the day running up to the match, although a decision has not yet been made – alcohol is currently not allowed on trains due to Covid restrictions.

A follow up meeting has been scheduled for mid May, and if any Scotland fan wishes to raise any points with us, please do get in touch!

A separate meeting is taking place later this week with the Glasgow Team, and we will endeavour to produce a similar summary of relevant points .

Meeting with London Host City Stakeholders – 06/04/2021

ATAC Chair Martin Riddell, and Vice Chair Graeme Baxter, attended an online meeting on Tuesday 6th April that was hosted by the MET Police’s Lead Planner for the Euros.  We were invited there to give a fan perspective of Scotland fans attending Wembley for the match on 18 June.  We were invited through our association with Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and others on the call included the Security Lead and Euros Project Leader from the FA, two reps from Police Scotland, various tournament London fanzone managers, a few other MET Police and Football Intelligence staff and various reps for the Greater London Authority (GLA) which I think is effectively the body that runs public services etc in London on behalf of the Mayor.  There were about 15 of us in total.

Fanzones

Trafalgar Square will be the official London fanzone during the tournament.  Access will be ticketed and it will open 3 hours before each match.  The expectation is that this is somewhere for fans to watch matches on big screens – it is not being designed as a pre-match drinking venue.  There will be an open ballot for tickets which will open a few days before each scheduled match.  Tickets will be free.

They are working on two models.  One, if social distancing etc is in place, will mean up to 700 people sat down at picnic bench style seating in groups of 4.  The other model is for no social distancing and will cater for up to 10,000.  It may be that access to the fanzone requires some proof of a negative test/vaccination/immunity but this hasn’t been decided yet.

The Football Village will be at Pettersfield which is right next door to the Mayor’s office on the South Bank between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.  This is being designed as a family friendly zone.  Having the official fanzone in Trafalgar Sq means that the police etc will not be wanting the usual pre-match meet up of Scotland fans around there.  This is a message we have been asked to support and communicate out.  More fanzone info can be seen here https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/euro-2020-trafalgar-square-fan-zone-faqs

Transport

Rail routes should be open but they will be strictly advanced purchase tickets only.  They have asked West Coast Mainline to increase capacity.  They have asked West Coast Mainline to increase capacity.  Trains may be dry.  They will be encouraging Scotland fans who arrive by train to stay over in London as time will be extremely tight to catch the last train up the road post-match.  National Coach should be offering a full service.

There will be plenty space for coach parking and there will be a coach parking tool nearer the time to use to book spaces for buses.  A few of the bus parks are a bit away from Wembley (furthest being 2km) so for these ones they are hoping to run an accessibility shuttle to get fans back and forward for those wo may require.  There will be no car parking around Wembley and they suggested North of the stadium for parking and then getting the tube in to the stadium.  They mentioned Ruislip and Stanmore as options to park and get the tube to Wembley.  They are hopeful of getting government subsidy to keep local transport costs down if social distancing remains in place.  With regard to car parking, fans may wish to try Hillingdon and Uxbridge along with Harrow on the Hill.  All these place are on the Met line direct into Wembley and central London.

Capacity

FA are aiming for 25% for the Wembley group matches.  They are looking to have slightly more for the next set of matches.  And they are hopeful of an increased  capacity for the semis and final.  They are expecting UEFA to allow them to announce these higher capacities closer to the start of the tournament and dependent on how things go. Understandable as we all know that everything can change at a moments notice with the virus.

For the various Wembley test events that are coming up they will be doing some lateral flow testing.  For the first two small scale tests they are suggesting at least two tests before the event and one after.  UEFA may look at proof of negative tests, proof of vaccination or some other proof of immunity but it has yet to be decided.  Obviously the local government may look to introduce and enforce that too.

Alcohol

Something that UEFA are keen for is for alcohol to be sold at the stadium due to their sponsors.  The first two small test events will have alcohol sales and they will decide after that.

We anticipate several follow up meetings to take place in the build up to the match, and we will continue to share relevant details from these meetings.

“Tell FIFA to blow the whistle on labour abuse in Qatar”

Ahead of the March Internationals, ATAC joined reps from supporters groups around Europe on a call organised by Football Supporters Europe and Amnesty International, who led a briefing on the situation in Qatar surrounding the treatment of migrant workers in the building of the World Cup 2022 Stadia.

Today Amnesty International are launching a petition to call on FIFA to “Blow the whistle on labour abuse in Qatar. Migrant workers are at the heart of realising Qatar’s dream of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But 10 years after FIFA awarded the tournament to Qatar, thousands of them are still being exploited by unscrupulous bosses…..When FIFA decided to hold the World Cup in Qatar it knew – or should have known – that there are inherent risks in hosting the tournament there, due to the country’s heavy reliance on migrant workers and the serious exploitation they face. FIFA has a clear responsibility to act when workers on World Cup projects are at risk of labour abuse, and to use its influence to urge Qatar to properly protect all migrant workers. While progress has been made on workers’ rights, the ongoing abuses show that Qatar and FIFA have much more to do if the World Cup is going to leave a positive legacy”

ATAC stands with Amnesty International, Football Supporters Europe, and other supporters groups in calling for FIFA to stand up to its responsibilities in Qatar which came with the awarding of the 2022 World Cup, and we are asking all fellow Scotland fans to support this campaign.

Click here to read more of Amnesty’s statement, and add your name to list calling on FIFA to blow the whistle on labour abuse in Qatar

ATAC & AONISC applaud Sky’s ‘Free to Air’ Playoff decision

Fans’ groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland have welcomed the announcement that their respective Euro 2020 play-off finals are to be shown on free-to-air channels on Thursday evening.

Broadcaster Sky will screen Scotland’s clash with Serbia on the Sky Sports Football, Sky One and Pick channels, while the Northern Ireland game against Slovakia will be shown on Sky Sports Premier League and Challenge.


Graeme Baxter from the Association of Tartan Army Clubs said: “Both ATAC and the AONISC had spoken to our respective FAs in August about the desire to see our games made as widely accessible as possible, so the decision by Sky to show Thursday’s matches on free to air channels is brilliant news.”

Gary McAllister from the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs added: “This is a really good decision by Sky. With a limited number of fans allowed into our match against Slovakia and pubs currently closed, this will allow everyone to see the game in their own home and avoid the temptation for people to congregate elsewhere to see the action.”


The decision also means that fans from all four of the UK ‘home nations’ will be able to watch their National Teams on free-to-air television with England against the Republic of Ireland airing on ITV, while Wales’ friendly against the USA will be shown on S4C.

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/19692/12126185/sky-sports-make-scotland-and-northern-ireland-euro-2020-play-off-finals-available-free-to-air