07/06/2022

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said UEFA had “mistakenly” organized the Champions League final and condemned the harsh response by French police who fired tear gas at fans trapped outside the Stade de France.

Liverpool have asked UEFA to conduct an official investigation into the chaotic and dangerous scenes that occurred before, during and after Saturday’s final match against Real Madrid in Paris.

Thousands of fans missed the kick-off, which was delayed 36 minutes due to traffic jams outside the stadium as Liverpool fans were pressured by police. Gates were closed for up to an hour due to issues with ticket and security checks. Gangs of locals broke into one of the few open gates, attacked and robbed fans who left the stadium after Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat.

French police inside the border fence have used tear gas indiscriminately against fans trapped outside, affecting young children and disabled fans.

UEFA blamed the chaos on “delayed arrival of fans”, despite the traffic that started more than two hours before kick-off. UEFA later issued a statement saying: “The turnstiles at the end of Liverpool have been blocked by thousands of fans who bought fake tickets that do not work at the gates.”

This line was also taken by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, tweeting: “Thousands of British supporters, without tickets or with fake tickets, have forcibly entered and sometimes attacked the guards.”

Children were among those involved in the chaos outside the Stade de France. Photo: Reuters

Merseyside police officers denied their reports on match day that they were traveling with Liverpool fans. “I can only describe it as the worst European match I’ve ever played or had,” he wrote on Twitter, MerPolLFC. “I found the behavior of the fans at the gates in horrific conditions exemplary. You were not 100% late.”

Robertson’s friend was one of many with a legitimate ticket to the finals, initially denied entry on the false premise of false ticket possession. The Liverpool defender said the players became aware of the gravity of the situation when they received first-hand reports from family and friends after the match. He questioned UEFA’s position on the problems outside the stadium, claiming that organizers and police “made it up at times and panicked”.

Andy Robertson claimed that regulators and police “sometimes made up for it and panicked”. Photo: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

The Scotland captain said: “The greatest football match in the world, these situations weren’t supposed to happen and unfortunately UEFA messed it up. When you come after the game, you answer your phone and you see everyone trying to get in, the French police are absolutely insistent, and you are told People with legitimate tickets are fake tickets, what happened to my guys and I can assure you it wasn’t a fake ticket so they panicked.

“Fortunately he was able to get in because a club representative screened it but they said it was a fake ticket I can assure you that. For me, this should not have happened, UEFA should have been better organised.”

The Spirit of Shankly’s Liverpool fan group described the scenes as “completely chaotic and extremely dangerous”. The fans’ problems did not end there, many attacked outside the Stade de France after the match. “The failure lies with UEFA, the French authorities and the police. As a result of this incompetence, the police did not react unusually stubbornly and their indiscriminate use of tear gas and pepper spray,” Distress added.

The French authorities and police also failed to control the local youth gangs before and after the match. Innocent fans were left stunned after being attacked, bags stolen and tickets stolen.

“The safety and well-being of our fans is of paramount importance and in the weeks leading up to the match, Spirit of Shankly worked closely with the LFC, FSE and merpol to ensure everything was done to ensure this. It was not. This teamwork was ignored by UEFA and the relevant French authorities.”

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Former Liverpool defender, now TV analyst, Jim Biglin, tweeted: “Last night after the match was the most terrifying night of my life. Organized gangs started ambushing the departing fans. We ran a gauntlet on the way to the subway. Not a cop in sight. Ambushes on the unsuspecting attendees. UEFA.”

Another former Liverpool player, Jason McAteer, reported that his wife and son were among the targets. He tweeted: “Last night was disgusting. My son attacked my wife and stole UEFA.com very responsibly as did the hosts and the French police. I hope everyone gets out of this bad show safely.”

There were also reports that police used tear gas to disperse crowds in the Liverpool fan zone after the final whistle. The event, dubbed UEFA, took place more than 9 kilometers from the Stade de France on the Place de la Nation.

Merseyside Deputy Chief Constable Chris Green said: “We are aware that Liverpool FC has requested a formal UEFA investigation and will be communicating with the club, UEFA and the UK Football Police Force to complete the investigation notes by the officers who have been reported. About them and who attended the game and attended pre-match meetings with the relevant authorities.

“As with all European Games, officers from Merseyside in France were deployed to serve in an observer and advisory role with the local officers and reported that the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving at the turnstiles early. As stated and their observations will be reported To the relevant authorities as part of the debriefing of the game. We know that people were going to witness many horrific scenes last night and we wish all those returning from Paris a safe journey.”