Football fans travelling to watch their team should do so with an expectation they will be treated fairly and provided a safe environment. There are just days before Liverpool travel to Rome for the Champions League semi-final second leg, on 2 May, and yet supporters are still awaiting information on what plans have been put in place for their safety. This is unacceptable.
LFC are actively trying to establish arrangements for supporters and have taken the unprecedented step of calling a meeting in Rome today, Friday 27 April, with the authorities. We welcome their actions on this and in speaking up for our supporters. We hope this will provide answers to the many questions Spirit of Shankly and others have raised.
Despite the best intentions of LFC and Merseyside Police wanting to ensure the safety of fans, stories have emerged in Italy with mention of ‘hooligans’, ‘risk supporters’ and ‘ticketless fans’. All are uncorroborated with no evidence offered and no quotes from officials or relevant authorities.
All this does is set a narrative that is now being perpetuated by sections of the media. SOS urge those reporting these stories to firstly fact-check them – for example, there has not been a single arrest of a Liverpool supporter at an away game this season – and then think of the consequences.
A negative, but false, view of visiting fans among local police in Rome will not help the situation. It is not an offence to be ‘ticketless’ and all supporters should expect to be treated properly and not threatened.
We expect those in authority, those responsible for our safety, to provide information and answers to supporters’ questions as soon as possible. And to do all they can to ensure supporters are looked after and safe in Rome.