European soccer’s governing body UEFA has again been criticized for its organization of the Champions League final.

The 2022-23 edition of the showpiece occasion, in which Manchester City beat Inter Milan 1-0 in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday (June 10), saw supporters complaining about safety measures and describing the delivery of the event as a “dangerous mess.”

Most of the issues arose prior to kick-off, which was at 10PM local time, with fans having to travel for several hours to get to the Ataturk Olympic Stadium due to limited transport links to the venue.

The decision to stage the pinnacle of the European clubs game at the Ataturk Stadium was widely criticized because of its facilities and with it being more than 12.4 miles (20km) from the city center. The stadium only has two access routes – a narrow road system and a recently built metro system.

Manchester City and Inter Milan fans were forced to travel to the Ataturk Stadium on shuttle buses which were stuck in gridlocked traffic for up to three hours, while metros were said to be over-capacity at least five hours before the start of the game.

Some fans opted to walk along the highways to get to the venue instead to arrive in time for kick-off.

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By GlobalData

Supporters were also critical of a lack of toilet facilities in the transport services and fan parks, as well as prices and queues.

After the game, fans complained about safety issues when leaving the stadium with limited exit routes.

The issues come a year after the chaotic events at last season’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris.

Last year’s final was overshadowed by the scenes outside the stadium as half of Liverpool’s fans were unable to enter the venue.

A UEFA-commissioned independent review found that the responsibility for the security failures lay with the governing body.

Just last month (May), and ahead of the weekend’s final, UEFA introduced measures to enhance the existing safeguards for fans attending its club and national team competition finals.

UEFA is likely to discuss the most recent issues with Football Supporters Europe (FSE) after recently partnering with the group around its safety procedures at major events.

As part of its new measures, UEFA had “extensive and positive” dialogue with fan groups, primarily through FSE to further involve fans in the planning and execution of its finals.

Through a memorandum of understanding signed between UEFA and FSE in January, representatives from FSE will take part in preparatory site visits to host venues, “contributing expertise and making recommendations, to ensure that the perspective of supporters is taken into consideration.”

Their representatives will also be involved in all finals, tracking and reporting on the fans’ journey throughout the event.

Meanwhile, the Champions League final was watched by an audience of almost 8.9 million viewers in Italy on Canale 5, the Mediaset-owned free-to-air commercial channel.

Manchester City’s win over Inter drew the biggest viewership in the country since 2017, the last time there was an Italian representative in the final as Juventus lost to Real Madrid (13 million).

The audience is up significantly from the 6 million viewers that watched last year’s final.

Inter’s defeat in Istanbul generated an audience share of 45.6% in Italy.

Canale 5 aired the match through a sub-licensing deal with main rightsholder Sky Italia, the dominant Italian pay-television operator.

Last month, Sky renewed its broadcast rights deal for UEFA’s club competitions for the 2024-27 cycle.

Image: David Ramos/Getty Images