Several times a year, Arsenal meets us to discuss safety and security. Here’s the inside story on some of the current issues.
Why’s it take so long to get into the ground?
After the turnstiles open until thirty minutes before kick-off, only around 22,000 supporters are in the ground. That leaves some 35,000 to get in during the final half hour. Despite pleas to come early, the club acknowledges that it’s just not practicable for many people and it continues to look for ways to streamline the entry system. At B and C for instance, there’s been an experiment merging search lanes, providing access through either turnstile and which, the club says, is proving to be successful. It will continue – and be rolled out at other Home supporter entrances. Other experiments will be tried – like more ‘Disney- styled queues and barrier lanes at every turnstile (as was used for Frankfurt). Let AISA know how you think they’re working for you
What do the Podium checks do?
The outer cordon went into place after the terror attacks at Stade de France. The club acknowledges it’s only a cursory check – it’s a right of way so it’s not just supporters passing through – but suspicious behaviour is closely tracked and monitored, we were assured. The Podium security team also remains throughout the match and at full time (in response to the the Manchester attack).
What happened at the Frankfurt match?
The media led most Arsenal supporters to think the ban on Frankfurt fans was total and that there would be none inside the stadium. When sections of the ground were full of away supporters, it therefore felt that security had been breached. The reality was in fact quite different, the club assured us.
UEFA’s ban was on Frankfurt selling tickets to their fans, not that Frankfurt supporters couldn’t come to the match and didn’t stop them acquiring tickets elsewhere. Nor did the ban apply to the usual allocation in East Upper for ‘Category 1’ away supporters. Where the club was able to take action was not to sell to Red Members (many of whom had sold on tickets to Koln supporters last season). But overseas agents could still sell Club Level seats independently to supporters of either team.
Despite the uncertainty over how many Frankfurt fans would come, the club stresses they were well prepared and confident that, with extra security and monitoring, they had it all under control, even if it didn’t always feel like it to Home supporters.