Early in the summer, Spirit of Shankly linked up with Supporters Trusts of other English football clubs competing in Europe this season. We each wrote to our respective club asking them to work with UEFA and the FCO to assist supporters travelling to countries that require a visa for entry. We hoped a collective voice would have a bigger impact.
Liverpool and Manchester United have both been drawn to play teams in Moscow in the Champions League group stage. As soon as the draw, on 24 August, was made SOS and Manchester United trust (MUST) got back in contact with our clubs to ask for help with visas as much as possible.
Any of our supporters wishing to attend the match on Tuesday 26 September, will have to pay in excess of £100 for a visa for the privilege.
Since then, we’re delighted to hear that Manchester United are going to pay for their fans’ visas – Man United to pay for supporter visas. This is a fantastic gesture that should be applauded.
SOS had hoped that Liverpool would have been in touch with an update on how they plan support their fans. We are sorry to report that as yet no reply or decision has been forthcoming. We do however want to thank Susan Black and Tony Barrett for their engagement in raising this issue inside the club.
When Liverpool played Rubin Kazan two seasons ago, the club organised a day for supporters to attend Anfield, submit their visa application and provide any biometric requirements. This was well received and meant that while fans still had to fund the visa themselves, they did not have the cost and inconvenience of travelling to London or Edinburgh to do this.
Such a gesture would have been welcomed again.
Supporters now face a dilemma about how to proceed. We cannot advise what to do, but are aware some will make their own arrangements. We have in the meantime asked the club to make a decision immediately. We will keep you updated.