We asked the Club to emphasise that UEFA rules require roughly 200 Category 1 tickets to be made available to the visiting club, which would mean some away fans would be in home areas, normally in the West Upper. This allocation is designed for club officials, players and staff, principally. The Club made this clear in pre-match communications to match attenders.
The Club had sold general admission tickets for this game under restricted sale, with only Season Ticket Holders and One Hotspur members eligible to purchase and with a cut-off date for new memberships. Their sales policy was fully compliant with UEFA requirements.
On the night, it soon became clear that a number of Red Star fans had obtained tickets for the match. The Club is investigating the source of those tickets and has stated that Season Ticket holders and One Hotspur members traced as those sources will face the strongest possible sanctions. The Club and Police refused entry to any fans obviously supporting Red Star at the stadium entrances.
A number of Red Star fans managed to gain entry to the ground. In what appeared to be a coordinated move, the majority of those fans made their way to the back of the upper tier in the north stand. This was an empty area as the tickets for this match had not sold out, and the backs of upper tiers are normally the last to sell. It should be noted that Red Star fans are extremely organised, experienced and have done this before in other stadia.
As pockets of Red Star fans were identified in other areas of the stadium, a decision was made to move those to the North Upper. In that area, Red Star fans could be contained by stewards and the Police, as opposed to being ejected onto the street or remaining scattered across the home support. Spurs fans seated in that section of the North Upper were moved into vacant seats close by under steward supervision and an area with impromptu segregation was created.
A decision was made in the Control Room to focus efforts on containing the Red Star fans peacefully as opposed to focusing on trying to enforce seating. This resulted in away fans standing throughout the match. It was a decision supported by the local authority representatives in response to unfolding events.
At half time, Red Star fans entering the Level 5 concourse area had their tickets confiscated and were ejected by the Police. Those who remained in the stand were held back at the end of the game, taken out via a separate staircase and handed over to the Police.
In the circumstances, it seems that the Club handled a fast-moving situation well and there were no flashpoints or incidents of violence whatsoever. Decisions were made in real time to contain Red Star fans while minimising the risk of wider disorder.
We support the Club’s commitment to identify Spurs fans responsible for passing on their tickets and we have also asked for clarification of next steps from UEFA.
We can understand the feelings of those Spurs fans who were moved or were close to the Red Star fans in the North Upper tier. And we appreciate how frustrating it is when it appears that away fans are treated differently, particularly in European ties when our travelling supporters regularly experience poor treatment. However, we’re satisfied THFC responded well to a difficult situation on the night, as did our supporters.
With a lot of conversation circulating about during and after the match, we hope this clarifies what happened and why.
23 October 2019