On Thursday, 03 November 2022, 1. FC Union Berlin will take on Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in Leuven, Belgium, for the final match in the Europa League group stage.
Due to the misconduct of individual spectators in the Union block at the Europa League match in Malmö, UEFA have not allowed to Union to sell any tickets for the guest block at the Den Dreef Stadium.
By decree of the mayor of Leuven, the Belgian authorities have now imposed a ban on entering Leuven and the surrounding area in order to prevent Union supporters from travelling to the stadium without tickets. The justification for the measure states, among other things, "that the presence of ticketless German fans on the streets, in the vicinity of the stadium or in the city centre could disturb public order".
On the basis of this decree, the Leuven police will detain Union fans without a valid ticket in the urban area of Leuven and in the neighbouring sub-municipalities between 03.11.2022 (from 10 am) and 04.11.2022 (until 10 am).
The local police authority has also pointed out that an ID check will be carried out at the stadium and entry will not be allowed to people with German ID documents.
Union's president, Dirk Zingler, said of the mayor's decision, "I consider this measure by the Belgian authorities to be disproportionate and wrong. Once again, they are not punishing the perpetrators, but many peaceful football fans. Moreover, the decree is also not in line with the UEFA ruling, which did not impose a travel ban on Union fans, but merely prohibited us as a club from selling tickets for the guest block in Leuven. In the last few days, we have been trying to find an organisational solution together with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in the interests of the many enthusiastic Union fans who accompany our club through Europe. Unfortunately, these efforts are no longer valid due to the ban, which is an incomprehensible collective punishment".
Due to the ban on entering the city, 1. FC Union Berlin recommends foregoing a possible trip to Belgium.