UEFA apologises to fans for Paris final chaos and promises full and transparent review

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By Paul Nicholson

June 4 – In stark contrast to the French authorities who refuse to accept any blame for the shameful scenes that occurred before and after the Champions League final in Paris, UEFA has issued an apology to fans and reiterated that it has commissioned an independent review of the incident and that the findings will be published in full.

As part of that review relevant parties (which includes fans who attended the game) will be able to submit their testimonies via a dedicated email address or an online questionnaire, said UEFA.

Before the match thousands of Liverpool fans were funnelled into an entry where not all the stadium entry points were operational and where issues arose over admitting fans with supposedly fake tickets into the ground.

This then created crowd crush issues and French police and security officers moved in to indiscriminately pepper spray and tear gas fans in attempts to disperse them. Outside the ground after the match gangs of local men armed with knives, machetes and bats roamed the streets and public areas, mugging and assaulting fans, with reports that the French police in many cases just stood at a distance and watched.

There are no returning Liverpool fans who don’t have horror stories to tell and UEFA recognised this in their statement.

“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 28 May 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,” said UEFA’s statement.

The Independent Review is being led by Portuguese judge Dr Tiago Brandão Rodrigues.

“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,” said the UEFA statement.

“It will also examine all relevant operational plans related to security, mobility, ticketing, as well as others at the discretion of the chairman of the Review, and will examine the planning and preparedness of the involved entities for the staging of the final, including at additional sites such as the Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF fan meeting points.”

While it is too late to undo what happened in Paris, UEFA said the review will look “to identify any issues or gaps in the implementation and running of operations and assess the roles and responsibilities of all the entities involved and the adequacy of their response to events, in order to make recommendations on best practices for the future for UEFA and the relevant stakeholders.”

The review will canvas stakeholders including Football Supporters Europe, Liverpool and Real Madrid fans groups, the clubs, general spectators, and the French Football Federation, French police and other public bodies.

UEFA said the review “will start immediately and should be concluded within the shortest possible timeframe” and that in the interests of transparency will be published by UEFA on www.uefa.com.

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