Champions League Final wash up
Thomas Cook Sport – Champions League Final
Data collection – Champions League Final
Zeelo coach travel – Champions League Final
UEFA Finals – Campaigning
European Fan Conference – Manchester, 20 June
Trust day at the Club – 26 June
Football Supporters’ Association AGM – London, 29 June
Business & Community Liaison Group meeting – 18 June
Crowd management at Barcelona: next steps
THST Q2 Board meeting – 17 June
- Annual Fans Survey 2019
- Ticketing points for away games – seasonal update
- PCUK London to Amsterdam 2019 bike ride
- PCUK London to Amsterdam 2020 bike ride
- Swindon Spurs AGM – 22 June
- The Spurs Show
1. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL WASH UP
We dealt with a heavy workload in the run-up to the Champions League final, and Trust Board members present in Madrid acted as contact points for the FIT (Fan Information Team) consisting of reps from the Football Supporters Association and Football Supporters Europe, along with local police. This was a new initiative and we thank FSA and FSE for their help in establishing and running the operation.
After the final we were asked to submit a report to the FIT, and we did so based on our experiences and those reported to us. We are reproducing in full to give a flavour of the key themes and the kind of areas involved, which we hope will be of interest.
THST FEEDBACK ON UCL FINAL, MADRID
31 May - 2 June 2019
NIGHT BEFORE THE GAME
- Reports of heavy-handed police using extreme force to empty out a bar of Spurs fans in central Madrid
- Despite the comments from police contacts, we have credible eye witnesses who state the attack was unprovoked and disproportionate. We’d like this investigated further, please
- Disappointing that the main police contact was not available and that different sections of the police with unclear lines of command were involved. Hard for us or FIT team to engage in conversation with police
- Well communicated by THFC and FIT and no reported issues from any of the Spurs fans collecting match tickets from the stadium
- Very popular pre-match
- Marquee extremely full and extremely hot
- Process for buying drinks was ill thought through and problematic, though
- Huge queues to buy tokens and even more huge queues in the marquee to exchange for drinks
- All local shops ran out of drinks, too
- Free Pepsi Max van was a god send!
- No water stations and very hot
- Queues for food were long with no shade from the heat
- Nowhere to sit down
- Toilets were pretty grim after a few hours. And almost unbearably hot! Obviously no toilet roll! Unisex wasn’t too popular with female fans
- No trouble that we’re aware of at the fan zone
- Positive feedback from those inside the marquee as to the entertainment and experience
- Just a shame those who couldn’t get into the tent or couldn’t cope with the heat inside missed the entire programme as it wasn’t relayed on any screens outside the tent
- Complaints beforehand that the fan zone was closing at 6pm but on the night, no complaints so assuming ticketless fans found bars nearby easily enough
- And no reports of issues watching the game in bars, either
- The space at Paseo Camoens designated for unofficial coaches - and cars and camper vans - as communicated by the Met and THFC had issues on Sunday morning when fans returned to collect their cars and they’d been towed away. We’re trying to ascertain what has happened here so any help FIT can give would be appreciated
- There was no signage or any stewards / officials between our nominated metro station and the stadium ahead of or after the match. This is unacceptable for what is a long walk through unfamiliar territory. There were no water stations to help fans cope with extreme heat, either, as had been promised. Literally nobody was there to assist
- After the match, the designated metro was temporarily closed owing to a broken-down train and the police at the station entrance spoke no English and couldn’t communicate with fans. There needed to be UEFA reps there or some official representative to assist fans at a busy transport hub
- We have had reports of Police at the stadium telling fans the metro stations had closed for the night and they would have to walk back into Madrid. This was also unacceptable after being told the metro would stay open until the stadium had emptied
- The signage from Estadio Metropolitano station was non-existent. Fans were made to walk a long way round the outer perimeter with no indication as to where the Spurs gates were, other than the North side of the ground. Again, there was no water available on a very hot day
- Largely fine but we have had reports of phone chargers being confiscated and thrown away, despite assurances that phone chargers were permitted
- We also heard of cases where packets of mints were confiscated, which is ridiculous!
- Bottles of soft drink without lids were allowed into the stadium but once inside, it was pour only, which seemed senseless
- We had to deal with one incident where a Spurs fan had been attacked in the toilets on level 4 by the police. This was reported to the head steward from Spurs and a Spurs steward was despatched to speak with the supporter in his seat at half time
- The kiosks ran out of water before half time and failed to make any tap water available to fans on a particularly hot day. There were no water fountains either. Under UK ground regs, water has to be provided by the host club free of charge when requested. We’d like this investigated, please. It caused extreme distress to many supporters
- The pricing of food and drink was also high. €5 for a soft drink and €8 for a burger. A shame to see fans exploited once again after excessive ticket pricing and travel/ hotel costs
- Generally, the stewarding was fine during the game, certainly in levels 1 and 2 with no significant complaints. Fans were allowed to stand providing gangways were clear. A sensible approach
- Police restricted movement at the end of the match (before the trophy presentation) meaning fans were unable to meet friends at agreed entrances and were forced to walk in one direction only. Several of our fans were shepherded to the Liverpool station and had to travel back into town without their friends / family. This needed to be communicated in advance so arrangements could be made.
And we published the full breakdown of the ticket allocation for the final as promised by the Club. We thank the Club for providing this and look forward to this being continued for domestic games.
2. THOMAS COOK SPORT – CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
A significant number of supporters contacted us about issues with Thomas Cook Sport’s flights to the final. In the run-up to the game we were in regular contact with THFC’s Board to attempt to solve immediate practical problems and get our fans to the game. We thank Executive Director Donna-Maria Cullen particularly for the efforts she made trying to do this.
The main issue before the game was extremely poor communication from TCS, something that caused many fans significant problems and significant stress. We made it extremely clear to THFC’s Board that the communication was not good enough, and that TCS was, in our opinion, falling short in a number of other areas.
After the game we were contacted by a group of supporters who had been on a plane delayed by a bird strike on one of the engines who had missed the first 10 minutes of the match, and by a number of other individuals. We gave advice on the best way to proceed with complaints, and put individual fans in touch with a legal expert at Thompson’s solicitors who provided some initial advice.
The passengers on the bird strike plane received full refunds and a gesture of goodwill from the Club. They are currently considering whether to take any further action.
Other fans adversely affected by TCS have also received legal advice and are pursuing complaints via ABTA.
As a Trust, we focussed on getting practical advice for our fans. Any action we took would have needed to be to secure changes that would ensure this situation never happened again, rather than to secure financial or other compensation for individuals. We could, however, help individuals to get proper, realistic advice for themselves, and we did so.
We appreciate the challenges posed by the unprecedented demand caused by two English clubs playing a Final in a foreign city. But we feel that TCS could and should have communicated to fans much better than they did, and displayed a greater understanding of the issues fans faced.
We also wrote to THFC’s Board to set out our position, and that letter is reproduced below.
“We discussed the whole TCS situation at our regular Trust board meeting earlier this week. Our view was that we would like the Club to continue offering a travel option for fans, as this is a service many fans value. However, we would like the Club to consider alternative arrangements.
Whether this is an alternative partner or securing demonstrable and significant change in the way TCS operates will, of course, be a decision for the Club. But we cannot, given the way TCS not only carried out their work but the very poor customer care they have shown subsequently, support the current arrangement continuing. It is unacceptable to supporters and damaging to the Club’s reputation – something that is particularly regrettable considering the lengths we know you have gone to in efforts to try to resolve the many issues that have arisen.
We would also ask the Club Board to look at how official partnerships are presented in future and what exactly is expected from those partnerships. As ever, we’re happy to make any constructive input.”
3. DATA COLLECTION – CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
Fans successful in getting tickets for the Champions League Final were asked to fill out online forms with personal details. A number of fans contacted us to ask why this was. We took some advice from the Football Supporters’ Association as we know this information has been requested by a number of clubs, and that it has been questioned before. It’s an area of work the FSA continues to pursue as concerns about how the information is used have not been fully addressed.
We asked THFC for a clear explanation of why the information was required and their reply, partly gathered from UEFA, is below.
“A ticket allocation agreement has been received from UEFA detailing their responsibilities as the data controller for the receipt and safe storage of personal data required in order to process the allocation.
The agreement has demonstrated an appropriate level of security and that considerations have been made regarding the nature and purpose of the processing activity, the subject matter and duration of processing as well as the cut of data taken. The details provided by UEFA are as follows:
- The fundamental purpose for UEFA processing the personal data collected will be to assist in the prevention of the unlawful re-selling of tickets, for the identification of fans in the case of an emergency, to help ease congestion issues at the points of entry, and for the general safety and security of all attendees.
- The lawful basis for processing the personal data is that of ‘legitimate interests’ as detailed in Article 6(1)(f) of the GDPR. This seems appropriate considering the fundamental purpose for processing detailed in point 1.
- The personal data will not be shared with any 3rd parties for marketing purposes. In the case of an emergency it may be shared with local emergency services and the local authorities.
While points 2, 3 and 4 seem reasonable enough, point 1 is laughable, even by UEFA’s standards. We have asked for further explanation of how supplying the information requested would assist with any of the situations mentioned.
The FSA is also continuing to press the issue and we’ll update as soon as we can on this matter.
4. ZEELO COACH TRAVEL – CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
We are very careful about recommending any service to supporters, and for this reason did not respond to the many transport firms who contacted us in the run-up to the Final asking us to endorse their offers.
Coach company Zeelo has ferried fans to home matches for the last two seasons, providing a very popular service that has not resulted in a single complaint to us. So when they contacted us to ask if we would help them assess interest in coach trips to Madrid for the Final, we agreed. Many fans expressed an interest, and we helped Zeelo publicise the service.
While we were in Madrid, and in the days after the Final, we did receive a number of complaints about Zeelo’s service. We were immediately in touch with the company to ensure that issues were being addressed. In the week after the final, we spoke again with Zeelo to get a full report of what had happened.
All customers affected were personally called by Zeelo. Apologies were given where the service did not meet the standards Zeelo wanted to deliver, and a number of passengers received refunds. Zeelo has also opened an investigation with suppliers to address a number of issues.
We’re happy that Zeelo has dealt properly with the complaints received and has explained fully why some changes were made. For instance, timings on some trips were changed after ferry companies decided ferries had to be segregated. Those affected were all contacted in advance of departure.
5. UEFA FINALS – CAMPAIGNING
The four English clubs who competed in UEFA’s two finals had some of the most organised supporter groups in football; a fact we are sure the organisers will have greatly appreciated. In the run-up to the games we co-ordinated work around issues such as flight and accommodation costs, security, visas, ticket pricing and ticket allocation. We achieved substantial media coverage and we believe the issues have registered sufficiently for them to be discussed seriously before another round of finals.
We’re also looking at further work to highlight the number of tickets given to sponsors, and to advance discussions with sponsors and sponsorship bodies about how to address issues such as the number of sponsor tickets that end up on the black market.
6. EUROPEAN FAN CONFERENCE – MANCHESTER, 20 JUNE
Some work around addressing ticket price hikes and security at European games had already prompted the FSA’s Director of Casework Amanda Jacks to organise a meeting to further co-ordinate work. The work we did with Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, and Spirit of Shankly before the UEFA finals prompted us to use the gathering in Manchester – one attended by supporter groups from almost all the English clubs competing in Europe – to build on that work. All supporter groups felt it was important to raise and pursue issues at the start of the season, rather than when issues specifically affected specific fans. Colleagues from FSE also attended and will be helping to ensure genuine discussions take place.
It was agreed we would write to UEFA setting out our proposals for improving the fan experience at future finals, and that a delegation would lobby the FSE conference in Lisbon in early July to encourage that body to support our position. We’ll publish in full the letter that goes to UEFA on our website in the coming days.
We also discussed the latest developments around proposals for a European Super League. A joint statement from supporter groups was published on our website on 5 June. THST has also written to THFC outlining our position.
7. TRUST DAY AT THE CLUB – 26 JUNE
Members of THST’s Board attended a number of meetings at the new stadium on 26 June. We were taken around the ground to look at a number of things including entry points, for both home and away fans; concourses; how to get from one section of the ground to another; and the stadium control room, and discussed various aspects of the matchday operation with the stadium director and head of matchday security. We also had dedicated meetings on ticketing, stewarding and transport with relevant Club staff members. We’ll be reporting on those meetings in the coming weeks, as there are a number of issues still being discussed.
We’d like to thank all the Club staff who gave up their time on the day, and especially Elaine Banks whose diary co-ordination skills were tested to the limit!
8. FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS’ ASSOCIATION AGM – 29 JUNE
Martin Cloake, Katrina Law and Rachel Martin attended the inaugural AGM of the Football Supporters’ Association on the one day of summer in London (!) on 29 June. The agenda included motions on football reform and objections to proposals for a European super league, along with the usual formalities of an Annual General Meeting. We’ll publish a brief report back in the next week.
9. BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LIAISON GROUP MEETING – 18 JUNE
The Trust was represented at June’s B&CLG meeting by Secretary, Pete Haine. The majority of the meeting saw a presentation of a detailed five-year plan from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.
There were several reports from local residents of "wet spots" where the streets are being used as urinals instead of the facilities in the stadium. The provision of portaloos in the area is under reviewed.
The potential renaming of White Hart Lane overground station was raised. It was the subject of a question asked of the Mayor of London, which can be read here. The Mayor answered as follows:
“TfL has been in discussion with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club about a potential ten-year commercial partnership. The partnership, if agreed, would generate income for TfL, reduce TfL’s costs and help promote TfL’s messaging. Any agreement to rename the station would be subject to continued support from Haringey Council and engagement with the local community.”
The club confirmed that this was the current position.
10. CROWD MANAGEMENT AT BARCELONA – NEXT STEPS
We continued to examine ways to secure a more just conclusion for our fans who were assaulted by security staff in Barcelona last December. We spoke to a Spanish lawyer passed on to us by the FSA’s Amanda Jacks to get advice on what possible avenues could be pursued. The lawyer thinks there may be room to take further action, but that action needs to be initiated by individual fans – there is no option for a class action in this case.
We’ve passed all the information on to every fan who contacted us after the game and asked them to let us know what they want to do next. We’ve had to be honest and say that any action will involve a significant time investment, and that significant cost could be involved. We’ll wait to hear back from the fans we’ve contacted, and then take a decision based on what they have told us.
We continue to raise the issue of policing and security in Barcelona, and Spain generally, with FSE, and we are told there is now some recognition that the issue needs to be addressed. The Spanish government, however, does not appear to see it as a priority, and the British government is otherwise engaged.
11. THST Q2 BOARD MEETING – 17 JUNE
The Board of THST gathered for its Q2 meeting on the evening of Monday 17 June at its Central London home of CMS at Cannon Street, EC4. On the agenda were the usual discussions around finance, membership, marketing, partnerships, charity and community along with updates on current workstreams. These regular meetings are essential to the smooth running of the organisation and for agreeing policy and approach.
This meeting saw the Board agree to advance sponsorship of a junior/ grassroots football team based in Haringey for next season; the distribution of business cards for each Board member; discussion around two of the six side policies accompanying our new Trust rules; an update on outstanding Freedom of Information requests; agreed improvements to our website; and agreement to continue supporting Prostate Cancer UK and Studio 306 Collective as our two recognised charities for the coming season.
We also discussed the follow-up from the Champions League Final in terms of transport via Thomas Cook Sport and Zeelo, and in terms of the ongoing work with other fan groups nationally and internationally around ticket allocation, price, stadia selection and other criteria for future UEFA finals, as covered earlier in this newsletter.
There was a brief summary of the last Met Police Football IAG of the season, and a preview of the FSA AGM on the 29 June, along with an update on Safe Standing and a reminder that the annual THST Fan Survey would be going live later in the week.
The next meeting of the Trust Board is scheduled for early August, with the next meeting with the Board of Tottenham Hotspur FC to be arranged for early September.
- ANNUAL FANS SURVEY
With sections on Season Tickets and Memberships, Home Comforts, Playing Away, Match day atmosphere, fixtures moved for broadcast, football performance, ownership and governance, national supporter issues and, of course, the Trust, it’s a really comprehensive snap shot of supporter views on key topics and the results provide a vital barometer for us throughout the coming year.
We opened the survey for one week on 19 June and we’re delighted that over 4,000 of you took the time to share your thoughts with us, making this the best supported survey yet.
We’re currently analysing the findings and will release the results the week before the season starts, so keep a look out for those!
- TICKETING POINTS SUMMARY
When considering the figures, there are a few facts we’d advise bearing in mind for context. Namely the increase in General Admission Season Ticket holders from 18,500 to 42,000 two seasons ago, resulting in very few away games now reaching One Hotspur members; the third year of the £30 away price cap, making Premier League away games financially accessible; and increased demand with the team still proving to be competitive at the top end of the league. All that said, it’s worth noting that there were seven games where the number of ticketing points required decreased from 2017/18.
We’ll continue to monitor points totals over the coming season, as those new Wembley Season Ticket holders enter their third year of the ticketing points cycle.
- PCUK LONDON TO AMSTERDAM 2019 BIKE RIDE
An even greater achievement has been the team’s fundraising this year. Just take a look at the stats:
2019 fundraising to date: £34,275. That’s £7,000 more than 2017’s previous record.
2016-19 fundraising grand total: £109,855
The cyclists thank the Trust for all the support and work that has contributed so much towards this achievement.
If you’d like to give the total a little push over the £110,000 mark you can still donate here.
- PCUK LONDON TO AMSTERDAM 2020 BIKE RIDE
You can express your interest here.
- SWINDON SPURS AGM – 22 JUNE
- THE SPURS SHOW
The Spurs Show holds regular, intimate events in Central London with ex-players and Club legends. These entertaining and informative nights are extremely popular with fans of all ages, are always well attended and have become a cornerstone of the Spurs social calendar.
Now’s your chance to be at all Spurs Show Live events for the coming season with your very own Spurs Show Live season ticket and, as a THST member, you’ll get a 20% discount! Full details are can be found here: season.spursshow.net
London in European Finals:
Le Monde (translation available on request)
Champions League Final:
Le Monde (translation available on request)
The Irish Times
Thomas Cook Sport:
European Super League:
ITV London News, 31 May (Pete Haine)
BBC Radio 5 Live, 31 May (Pete Haine)
1 July 2019
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