Champions League final: Liverpool call for investigation into ‘unacceptable issues’ facing fans

Signs in the stadium told fans that the final had been delayed “due to late arrival of fans at the stadium”.

Liverpool have called for an investigation into the “unacceptable issues” facing fans that caused the Champions League final against Real Madrid to be delayed.

UEFA delayed the start of the match by more than 30 minutes citing “security reasons”.

The match at the Stade de France in Paris did not start until 20:36 BST, with Real thrashing Liverpool 1-0.

Police outside the field fired tear gas as a small number of supporters tried to jump over security barriers.

UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston tweeted: “We are very concerned about the disturbing scenes around the Stade de France last night and will be working with the appropriate authorities to find out what happened and why.”

Andy Robertson, Liverpool defender said the organization of the party was a “disorder”.

Merseyside Police said their officers who were deployed to Paris and attended the match “reported that the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving early at the turnstiles and queuing as directed”.

“Our officers returning today will conduct a formal briefing to ensure we can fully support any investigation following last night’s game,” said Assistant Police Chief Chris Green.

Merseyside Police Matchday officers tweeted that it was “the worst European match I have ever worked on or experienced”.

They added: “I thought the behavior of the fans at the turnstiles was exemplary under shocking circumstances. You weren’t 100% late.”

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson criticized the “appalling management and brutal treatment of fans” and said she would write to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss “requesting responses from Uefa and to [France’s] President Emmanuel Macron to investigate.”

Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly said the situation was “completely chaotic and extremely dangerous”.

The images had emerged in the build-up of huge crowds of fans queuing to get in.

Many claimed that they had been in the stadium hours before kick-off but were prevented from stepping onto the ground.

“We are very disappointed by the stadium entry issues and perimeter security breach that Liverpool fans faced tonight at the Stade de France.” said the Anfield clubexternal link in a sentence.

“This is the best match in European football and fans should not have to experience the scenes we have seen tonight.

“We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable problems.”

On Sunday, Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan said the club wanted supporters to come forward with their experiences to contribute to any investigation.

“We want to provide those facts to the proper authorities,” he said.

“In the coming days, we will establish a mechanism for supporters to contact us directly with their experiences and accounts of what happened.”

European soccer’s governing body UEFA said it “sympathizes with those affected by these events and will review these matters urgently together with the French police and authorities, and with the French Football Federation.”

“In the run up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end were blocked by thousands of fans who had bought fake tickets that did not work at the turnstiles,” he explained.

“This created a backlog of fans trying to get in. As a result, kick-off was delayed 35 minutes to allow access to as many genuine ticketed fans as possible.

“As the number outside the stadium grew after kick-off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.”

French police had urged fans not to force entry with tweet 20 minutes before the gameexternal link was scheduled to start.

As kick-off approached, large areas of empty seats could still be seen within the field.

Outside, some fans were seen climbing the perimeter fences or trying to run past security. Riot police were also present.

The Liverpool players went out to warm up again at 20:06, with messages on the giant screens inside the stadium indicating that the delay was due to the late arrival of fans.

French police said fans with false tickets tried to force access to the stadium but “the rapid intervention of the police allowed calm to return”.

They added that they were able to disperse the fans “without difficulty”.

They also said there were no major incidents in the city’s fan zones, although 500 people were moved from a bar near Liverpool’s fan zone on the Cours de Vincennes.

French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera tweeted: “Attempts at intrusion and fraud by thousands of English fans have complicated the work of stadium staff and police but will not tarnish this victory.”

While Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also blamed British fanatics.

‘A completely unreasonable situation’: the opinion of the fans

BBC journalist Nick Parrott, who was off the pitch in a personal capacity, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’ve just been pepper-sprayed for the first time in my life. I’ve been to the Champions League final before. and I’ve never been.” pepper sprinkled before.

“I was outside Gate Y, which has been opening and closing repeatedly for the last hour and a half, but no one has gotten through. Security on the other side came forward and sprayed pepper spray.”

The opening ceremony began just after 20:20 BST before play finally started 16 minutes later.

About 10 minutes after kick-off, Football Supporters Europe said “thousands are still stuck outside the stadium, keeping calm in the face of a completely unreasonable situation.”

The body added: “The fans in the Champions League final bear no responsibility for tonight’s fiasco.”

BBC Sport’s John Watson on the pitch said he had “passed hundreds of Liverpool fans queuing at the entrance gates an hour before kick-off and were not allowed in”.

“I cannot understand the reason for the delay due to the late arrival of the fans,” he added.

Defender Robertson says he had given a friend a ticket, but was denied entry to the game.

“One of my colleagues was told that it was false and I assure you that it was not,” he said.

“It was horrible for our fans and all the families that have been through it as well. It was not a nice experience, it was not a good final to get to. The Champions League should be a celebration, but it was not.”

Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne tweetedexternal link to say that he had “endured one of the worst experiences of my life”, and blamed UEFA for “horrendous security and organization that put lives in danger”.

“I pray that no fans have been hurt due to the embarrassing lack of organization and experience,” he added.

Dominic King of the Daily Mail told BBC Radio 5 Live that he had been speaking to supporters queuing to enter the stadium.

“It came out of nowhere,” he said. “There has been no violence or antagonism. They are just shocked at how they have been treated by the authorities.”

“We were told about 45 minutes before our end was full while there were thousands outside,” Liverpool fan Tyler, who spent £1,000 on his ticket, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Fans also said they were mugged and robbed by local gangs as they left the stadium after the game.

Former Liverpool defender and now TV commentator Jim Beglin was among them and he tweeted:external link “After last night’s game it was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.

“Organized gangs took to mugging departing fans. We faced a series of vandalism on our way to the Metro. Not a police officer in sight. We witnessed so many ambushes on unsuspecting attendees. Reprehensible.” .

Originally the final was to be played in Saint Petersburg, but the city was stripped of the game following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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