Fans critical of artificial crowd noise

Football supporters groups from around Europe have criticised attempts to liven up matches in empty stadiums by using artificial crowd noise, describing it as "a rebuke to match-going fans".

The fans said that the recent return of football following the coronavirus stoppage, with matches behind closed doors, had shown that supporters were "the lifeblood of the game" and their contribution should be recognised by leagues and clubs.

"We have significant concerns regarding attempts by broadcasters to replace or imitate the unique atmosphere produced by fans," said the statement by the umbrella group Football Supporters Europe, which was also signed by 26 fan groups from one dozen European countries.

"Augmented reality technology, pre-recorded chants and other forms of artificial support represent a rebuke to match-going fans," it said.

"The absence of fans cannot be compensated for by a computer simulation aimed at the amusement of television audiences."

The supporters also demanded greater participation in discussions over football's future, saying "fans stand ready to play a part in shaping lasting change". - REUTERS