Liverpool has taken the "unprecedented step" of organizing a meeting with UEFA, Serie A side AS Roma and the Italian authorities in Rome on Friday "over serious security concerns" for its Champions League semifinal at the Stadio Olimpico, according to Andy Hunter of the London GUARDIAN. A delegation from Liverpool will meet officials from European football’s governing body, the club's Champions League opponent, police and council members in Rome, "having been frustrated" in attempts to gather what it considers "basic information" for supporters traveling to the second leg next Wednesday. Talks began when the semifinal draw was made on April 13. A fortnight later, "several security matters have not been addressed," prompting Liverpool's request for Friday's meeting. Liverpool sold 5,000 away tickets and "usually" provides fans with guidance on security and safety issues at the point of sale (GUARDIAN, 4/26). In London, Paul Joyce reported among the issues on which Liverpool is seeking information are:
- What plans there are for a "safe, and secure, shuttle service to and from the Stadio Olimpico," with Liverpool "prepared to meet any additional costs."
- What time fans can arrive at the stadium and confirmation of when the turnstiles will be open.
- What bags are allowed into the stadium.
- Which areas of the city are "to be avoided" and which routes supporters should take if a shuttle service is not available (LONDON TIMES, 4/26).
SIGNIFICANT OPERATION: Joyce also reported a "significant security operation will surround Liverpool supporters" in Rome next week as the Italian authorities "seek to prevent a repeat of the scenes that left one fan critically injured" after an unprovoked attack outside Anfield on Tuesday. There will be an increased police presence at the ground, no alcohol will be sold in an "expanded radius around the stadium" and supporters will face "more than one search" as they approach the arena. In addition, Liverpool supporters will be given a list of places to avoid in the city (LONDON TIMES, 4/26). The BBC reported police warned Liverpool fans without a ticket for the Champions League semifinal "not to travel to Rome." Merseyside Police are working with Italian police and will have officers at the game. Chief superintendent Dave Charnock said, "While we understand and appreciate that many Liverpool fans will want to travel to Rome, I would encourage fans who do not have tickets to not travel" (BBC, 4/26).