The European Football Association postponed the start of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid for more than 30 minutes for “security reasons”.
The match was scheduled to start at the Stade de France in Paris at 20:00 BST but did not start until 20:36 BST.
Pictures emerged as huge crowds of fans lined up to enter.
French police Tweet 20 minutes before the match To begin urging fans not to force entry.
As kick-off approaches, large swathes of empty seats can still be seen on the ground.
Outside, some fans were seen climbing fences or trying to bypass security. Riot police were also present.
At 20:06 the Liverpool players reappeared to warm up. Messages were displayed on the stadium’s big screens stating that the delay was due to the late arrival of the fans.
The fans tried to enter the stadium. They made their way through the first filter. “The protection at the Stade de France is watertight,” the French police said in a statement, Reuters reported.
Police outside the ground fired tear gas while a few fans tried to climb over the security barriers.
BBC journalist Nick Parrott told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’ve been pepper-sprayed for the first time in my life. I’ve been to the Champions League final before and I’ve never been affected by that before.
“I have been in front of Gate Y, which has repeatedly opened and closed for the past hour and a half, but no one has passed through. The security personnel on the other side offered and sprayed pepper sprays.”
The opening ceremony started just after 20:20 BST before play finally started 16 minutes later.
About 10 minutes into the match, football supporters in Europe said: “Thousands are still trapped outside the stadium, calm in the face of an absolutely absurd situation.”
“The fans of the Champions League final do not bear any responsibility for today’s fiasco,” the committee added.
BBC Sport correspondent John Watson on the ground said he had bypassed hundreds of Liverpool fans who were queuing at the gate an hour before kick-off and were not allowed in.
“I don’t understand the delay because the fans arrived late.”
Dominic King, the Daily Mail’s reporter, told BBC Radio 5 Live that he spoke to fans queuing to enter the stadium: “I came out of nowhere. There was no violence or hostility, they were just upset by the way the authorities treated them.”