Champions League final: Uefa ‘responsible’ for chaos ahead of Liverpool v Real Madrid in Paris

UEFA bears “primary responsibility” for the chaotic scenes that “nearly led to disaster” ahead of last year’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, says an independent report.

Fans were cornered and bombarded with tear gas outside the Stade de France in Paris when the start of the game was delayed for 36 minutes.

UEFA and French authorities initially blamed ticket fraud on an “industrial scale” – which drew widespread criticism.

The report says there is “no evidence” to support the “objectionable” allegations.

“The panel concluded that UEFA, as the owner of the event, is primarily responsible for the failures that nearly led to disaster,” says the report, commissioned by UEFA after the May 28 final.

While it said there was “contributory failure” by other bodies, the findings say European governing body UEFA was “at the wheel”.

“UEFA should have maintained a (security) monitoring and supervisory role to ensure everything worked. Evidently it did not,” the report added.

UEFA commissioned the independent report three days after the match – the key piece of European club football which Liverpool lost 1-0 – took place in the French capital.

The European regulator said a “comprehensive review” would examine a range of factors including decision-making, responsibility and the behavior of all parties involved in the final.

The investigation was presided over by Portuguese politician Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, with the jury including specialists and legal, police and event management consultants, as well as representatives of associations of football fans.

“On behalf of UEFA, I would like to apologize once again to all those who have been affected by the events that unfolded in what should have been a celebration at the height of the club season,” said UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis.

“In particular, I would like to apologize to Liverpool fans for the experiences many of them had watching the game and for the messages circulated before and during the game which had the effect of unfairly blaming them for the situation which led to the late kick-off. “

What did Liverpool and the fans say?

UEFA initially intended to publish the investigation’s findings by November last year.

The report was released on Monday, around an hour before Liverpool’s home game against Merseyside rivals Everton.

It was thought to be published on Tuesday, but details of the investigation’s findings were reported by several media organizations on Monday.

Liverpool said they had not received a copy of the report before seeing the stories in the media.

“It is extremely disappointing that a report of such importance, of such importance to football fans’ lives and future safety, is leaked and published in this way,” the club said.

“It has been more than eight months of work by the independent panel and it is only fair and appropriate to publish the contents of the report to our supporters in an appropriate manner.

“We will wait to receive a copy of the report and digest it fully before making any further comments.”

Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly were also unhappy that the report was leaked before being seen by the club and its supporters.

“It is disappointing and insensitive to release a report of this magnitude without first letting supporters know that they were there,” a spokesman told the BBC.

What happened outside the Stade de France?

UEFA initially blamed the “late arrivals” of the fans for the problems, which delayed the start of the game by more than half an hour.

Many Liverpool fans were at the stadium hours before kick-off, but were refused entry to the pitch.

France’s interior and sports ministers acknowledged difficulties in managing crowds at the final but pointed the blame to Liverpool fans and local youths who tried to force their way into the stadium.

However, a spokesman for the independent union of police commissioners of France (SICP), Mathieu Valet, told the BBC’s Newshour that “supporters without tickets or with false tickets were not the main problem”.

“It’s clear we needed more police – we didn’t have enough on the ground,” he said.

Timeline of the day's events
Timeline of the day’s events

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