Platini appeals for fans football festival in Rome

ROME - UEFA president Michel Platini appealed to Manchester United and Barcelona fans on Monday to turn this week's UEFA Champions League final into a football festival and not tarnish the event with violence. More than 40,000 fans with tickets from England and Spain are expected in the Italian capital over the next 48 hours and UEFA has organised fan zones for both sets of supporters as well as a festival site. However, several thousand fans, especially from England are expected to arrive without tickets, and they are causing UEFA some concern. Platini, who experienced the worst desecration of European football's showpiece event as a Juventus player in the 1985 final after the Heysel Stadium disaster in which 39 Juventus fans were killed, said that UEFA had every confidence the "dream final" between two of European football's most glamorous clubs would go ahead without trouble, even though UEFA is aware of the possibility it could occur. Platini told Reuters: "This is going to be a wonderful match, and the whole world will be glued to this event, that is why it is important that everyone behaves themselves. "Football must show itself in the best positive light. UEFA is at the service of the fans, as was the case last year with waiving the visas for Moscow and will be the case this year, as we have done everything possible to make sure that they can enjoy the atmosphere, the event and the celebration of football. "We are therefore counting on the fans to have a good time and to behave. Enjoy Rome, enjoy the festivities and most of all enjoy the football." UEFA have worked tirelessly with the Italian police and security services over the last two years to ensure that Wednesday's match goes ahead without trouble. Rob Faulkner, UEFA's Head of Communcations told Reuters: "We are fully aware there is a history of incidents in Rome caused by the rogue elements among some fans in the city, but we are not aware of any issues between Barcelona and Manchester United fans and we are expecting them to really enjoy the match in one of the world's greatest cities. TICKETLESS FANS "One area that does concern us is the large number of ticketless fans moving around the city. "We are asking the fans with tickets to make their way to the stadium early and to be well-prepared and we are asking fans without tickets not to travel." Last week the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warned fans which metro stops and other areas of the city to avoid because of the fears of trouble. The FCO warned fans not to take the metro to the Piazazale Flamino or use the Ponte Duca D'Aosta bridge, the site of violence in the past. UEFA had threatened to take the final away from Rome if AS Roma's Champions League quarter-final against Manchester United last season was marred by the sort of violence that occurred on United's previous two visits to the city. That did not happen but Arsenal fans were attacked before their team knocked out Roma in a last-16 second leg match in March. NEWS: Vidic: United can match Barca flair NEWS: Rome enforces alcohol ban for final NEWS: Henry and Iniesta train ahead of final NEWS: Xavi - Barca have not practised penalties NEWS: Evra - Marking Messi will be easy peasy NEWS: Messi - Classy Catalans deserve to win in Rome NEWS: Rijkaard: United have got no chance NEWS: Rio's Rome hopes hinge on Hull NEWS: Henry and Iniesta on course for final NEWS: O'Shea coy on Rome start speculation NEWS: Ferguson anticipating fantastic final NEWS: Foreign Office advice for fans heading to Rome NEWS: All white on the night for Reds in Rome UNITED FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Wayne Rooney, Peter Schmeichel, Carlos Tevez Q&A Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistlerooy One on One David Beckham, George Best Ask A Silly Question Bryan Robson Boy's A Bit Special Danny Simpson Perfect XI Garth Crooks, Bryan Robson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona What Happened Next? David May, Norman Whiteside Sing When You’re Winning Dominic Monaghan, Ian Brown And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan Plus! Rate United players (and others) on Talentspotter BARCELONA FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews section for more stuff to read: Q&A Samuel Eto'o, Cesc Fabregas Web Exclusives Cesc Fabregas, Gary Lineker One on One Mark Hughes, Thierry Henry, Ronaldo Perfect XI Gheorghe Hagi, Hristo Stoichkov, Ronald Koeman Plus! Rate Barca players (and others) on Talentspotter