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UEFA issues apology to Liverpool for the UCL Final chaos

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Liverpool fans
  • UEFA apologized to Liverpool for initially blaming the Merseyside club’s supporters for the mayhem before last year’s Champions League final
  • The game on May 28th was delayed by 37 minutes due to a large number of Liverpool fans being unable to enter the Stadium

Following the release of an independent review on Monday, UEFA apologized to Liverpool for initially blaming the Merseyside club’s supporters for the mayhem that occurred before last year’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris.

The game on May 28th, which Spain won 1-0, was delayed by 37 minutes due to a large number of Liverpool fans being unable to enter the Stade de France and French police using tear gas on fans. The review found no evidence to back up claims made at the time by UEFA, Europe’s soccer governing body, and French authorities that the chaos was caused by ticket fraud.

“Almost led to a disaster”

UEFA admits it almost led to a disaster

UEFA admits it almost led to a disaster. |PHOTO: Times Series|

A UEFA-commissioned review into the unjust treatment of Liverpool fans outside the 2022 Champions League final found mistakes by the organization’s governing body and a lack of a venue risk assessment by French authorities “almost led to a disaster.”

The independent report criticizes French police for indiscriminately using tear gas and pepper spray on concourses near turnstiles used by Liverpool fans, resulting in crushing around security barriers at the Stade de France before the game against Real Madrid.

According to the report, the police and the French Football Federation (FFF) “bear responsibility” for ensuring public safety.

It was called a near-miss event in the review, referencing an event that almost turns into a “mass fatality catastrophe”.

A lack of a “Plan B” is said to have been discovered, which could have resulted in stewards and police being redeployed to deal with crowd management issues.

The game was delayed for 37 minutes due to a combination of operational issues outside the venue that created access issues for distraught fans, particularly those who are disabled or asthmatics who had to deal with the tear gas and pepper spray.

When Liverpool fans were funnelled through a narrow gap and tear gas was fired into an area containing thousands of Liverpool fans, there was a “massive” bottleneck.

The commission rejected French authorities’ attempts to blame ticketless fans on the night of May 28 and stated that late arriving supporters were not a cause because problems were evident about three hours before kickoff.

According to the report, senior management at UEFA Events SA, the UEFA division in charge of tournaments and showpiece matches, marginalized the safety and security unit by using subcontracted stewards and then tried to avoid accountability.

No evidence of ticketless fans

Fans displaying tickets

Fans displaying tickets. |PHOTO: Sky Sports|

According to reports, UEFA should have done more to challenge the failure of collaborative working and find solutions on the night.

Despite UEFA and the French government’s claims on the night, no evidence of a large number of ticketless supporters has been found.

In fact, over 2,500 Liverpool fans were discovered to be unable to register valid tickets at turnstiles.

There is a possibility that access points at the turnstiles incorrectly identified these as fake, leading to rushed conclusions and pointing to infrastructure issues at the Stade de France.

 

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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