UEFA apologises to fans over UCL final chaos

European football body says no football spectator should go through such mayhem

AFP June 04, 2022


UEFA apologised to spectators for the first time on Friday for their "frightening and distressing" experience ahead of the Champions League final, saying no football fan should go through such mayhem.

Thousands of supporters were unable to access European club football's showpiece match between despite having genuine tickets, in chaotic scenes that saw the French police use tear gas at close range even against children.

"UEFA wishes to sincerely apologise to all spectators who had to experience or witness frightening and distressing events in the build-up to the UEFA Champions League final at the Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, on a night which should have been a celebration of European club football.

"No football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again," European football's governing body said in a statement.

Spanish giants Real Madrid beat England's Liverpool 1-0, but the match was completely overshadowed by the chaos outside the stadium.

Before the game, thousands of Liverpool fans with tickets had to wait for hours to enter the ground, with police using tear gas and pepper spray on the crowds.

Some Liverpool supporters said they feared being crushed after small openings were used to filter the queues.

Many fans from both sides also reported being assaulted and robbed outside the stadium after the match.

The chaos sparked anger in Britain, political uproar in France a fortnight ahead of legislative elections, and raised questions about the French capital's capability to host the Olympics in 2024.

UEFA has commissioned an independent review led by Portugal's former government minister Tiago Brandao Rodrigues and aimed at finding the responsibilities and shortcomings of those involved in organising the final.

"UEFA wishes – and needs – to understand what happened during the course of the day of the final, and determine lessons learnt to ensure there is no repeat of the actions and events of that day," it said in a statement.

"The review will seek to establish a full picture and timeline of what occurred during the day, both within the stadium and the surrounding areas, including examining spectator flows to the stadium via the various access points," it said as it published the terms of reference.

The review will go through the security, ticketing and planning for the final and will also look at fan meeting points.

It will engage with UEFA, fan groups, Liverpool and Real Madrid, the French Football Federation (FFF), the police, the stadium operator and other public authorities.

"Further information on how relevant parties can submit their testimonies (via a dedicated email address or an online questionnaire) will be communicated shortly," UEFA said.

The review will start immediately and be completed in the "shortest possible time-frame" and then set out its findings, conclusions and recommendations.

Once completed, it will be published on UEFA's website.


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