Champions League – Taylor confident of order in Moscow
UEFA general secretary David Taylor is confident there will be no repeat of the rioting which marred the UEFA Cup final when the Champions League reaches its climax on Wednesday.
Chelsea and Manchester United fans are set to descend on the Russian capital for the first all-English final in the competition and Scotsman Taylor predicts tough policing will quell the threat of huge public disorder.
Taylor, the former chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme: “We are never complacent but certainly we are confident there will not be the same vast numbers (of fans) that there were in Manchester.
“We also believe the style of crowd management with the Russian authorities and the police will be somewhat different to the English police management.
“We’ve had lots and lots of meetings with the (Russian) security authorities and they have been very helpful, even allowing fans to use Red Square itself as the venue for their Champions League festival area.
“It shows they are going to be very welcoming but I’m sure also there will be some very tough policing if there is any sign of disorder.”
Taylor admitted there is a sense of disbelief among many people that, with two English teams involved in the final, it must be still be played in Moscow.
But he said: “There is no way with two or three weeks’ notice we can suddenly decide to up sticks and decide to move it elsewhere.
“Events like this are now on not only a Europe-wide scale but a worldwide scale and the planning, which is meticulous, starts a couple of years before.
“For example, we have just awarded the 2010 final of the Champions League to Madrid. So moving it at such short notice is just not a practical proposition.”
Condemning the rioting involving Rangers supporters in Manchester, Taylor said: “It was really disgraceful and something on a scale we’ve not seen for some time.
“Whatever the issues around it, the giant screens not working or whatever, there are absolutely no excuses for the sort of disorder that occurred.
“Thankfully, it seems the authorities got on top of it pretty quickly and have expressed themselves satisfied that, on the whole, the vast majority of supporters were well behaved.
“But it was, of course, a very distasteful incident.”
Taylor refused to blame the Manchester authorities for what transpired.
“The numbers of people who actually came down from Scotland and all over the world to go to this match exceeded all expectations,” he said.
“Yes, we were expecting some sort of invasion of Manchester but the numbers, in the end, were just huge.
“It was very difficult for the authorities to cope. They did lay on special arrangements for fans but the numbers of people coming into the city was just incredible.”
Taylor confirmed Rangers will not face disciplinary action from UEFA for the riots which occurred away from the City of Manchester Stadium.
He pointed out: “Our disciplinary rules relate to incidents in and around the stadium and Rangers, obviously, are giving their full co-operation to the authorities, banning any supporters found guilty of any incidents of disorder.
“I think that’s an obligation on the club.”
Sporting Life / Eurosport