Last Monday (3rd of July 2017) UEFA published a report regarding the safety of using pyrotechnics inside football stadiums.
In 2016 Football Supporters Europe accepted an invitation from UEFA to take part in a working group on pyrotechnics. We regarded this involvement of a voice for football supporters as a welcome improvement on the previous practice of these discussions taking place over our heads and without fans´ participation.
A part of the working group, besides the research on the safety of use of pyrotechnics, was that we also would look more into the possible alternatives of pyrotechnics.
It was this working group, which involved representatives of UEFA, national football associations, members of the EU Think Tank on Safety & Security, and experts, alongside the FSE representatives, which commissioned an independent scientific study into the safety of pyrotechnic devices in common usage.
The report of this study has confirmed that the pyrotechnic devices currently in common use are potentially dangerous, something which fans have always been aware of.
The policy of FSE on this issue remains unchanged: that we recognise the variations in fan culture across Europe which mean that pyro is popular in some countries and not in others; that we oppose the misuse of pyro, and in particular the throwing of pyrotechnic devices and their use as weapons; that we support research and dialogue that would allow a reduction of risks related to the use of pyro inside football stadiums.
We remain convinced that the current situation will not be resolved by repression and that alternative approaches must be sought. That’s why, as part of this summer’s European Football Fans’ Congress, Football Supporters Europe have organised a workshop on the topic: Alternative approaches to Pyrotechnics, among many other pressing issues such as Safe standing, Accountability, Terrorism & States of emergency, Football & Refugee support, etc.