07/06/2022

Families affected by the Hillsborough disaster have compared the “appalling” treatment of Liverpool fans in the Champions League final to the crush that killed 97 fans in 1989.

Eyewitnesses described seeing children “trembling in fear” and adults fearing for their lives when French police fired tear gas into the crowd outside the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday night.

UEFA initially blamed the delay on “delayed arrival” for Liverpool fans, before later claiming that thousands tried to enter the stadium with fake tickets.

However, this version of events was questioned by Merseyside police, who said that “the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner in ‘horrific circumstances'”.

David Hughes, a Liverpool fan who was present at the match, said the chaotic organization and attempts to blame the fans reflected the Hillsborough disaster in which his father Eric Hughes died in April 1989.

“The accusations of the masses have echoes. The first thing they do is blame the masses.”

“You have to look at yourself seriously. You can’t have 20,000 fans under two pillars under a subway. Unfortunately, we have had experience with this in the past and it didn’t work.”

Hughes arrived at the Stade de France with his 17-year-old daughter Callie more than three hours before kick-off, and said security officials clearly “can’t handle” the crowd.

He said he was “ambushed” after the match when local youths threw tear gas and spat at Liverpool fans who were leaving the stadium.

Lou Brooks, whose brother Andrew died in Hillsboro, said Saturday’s treatment of fans “brought everything back” from the disaster 33 years ago.

“It mirrored everything that happened in Hillsboro. The police said the exact same thing at the time.”

“My friends were involved [on Saturday] He stole his phone and another told me he really thought he was going to die. These are the people who have been going to games for about 40 years, since they were six or seven.”

Brooks said she was concerned that the pre-match chaos was “pre-planned” by French police.

Liverpool Football Club has called for an official investigation into the “unacceptable” problems that have marred the greatest match in European football.

Liverpool Mayor Joan Anderson He said She was “disgusted by the appalling management and brutal treatment” of fans and described blaming fans as “shameful”.

Kelly Simmons, Director of Women’s Professional Games in the Football Association, chirp She was “crushed on her way inside and couldn’t move for 90 minutes” as she made her way to the ground.

She added in another tweet: “My legs were like jelly and I kept sitting in the match. I couldn’t help but think we had to get out at the end. All the fans close to me in this crowd behaved flawlessly and demanded to calm down/Don’t be alarmed. It was just a massive size It does not go anywhere where there are no open gates.”

The match, which Liverpool lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, started 36 minutes late as thousands of fans were trapped outside the stadium despite hours into the match.

Footage showed French riot police firing tear gas at fans before the match while groups of local men reportedly tried to storm the grounds.

One journalist said it was “a massacre on such a serious scale that the idea of ​​losing human lives was sometimes realistic”.

Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland minister, said Liverpool fans appeared to have been treated with a “very aggressive approach” by French police and backed calls for an investigation.

He told Sky News on Sunday: “I think it’s troubling, and I think we need to make sure they investigate how this happened. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this out there… We need to know a little bit about what happened there, and delve deeper into command.”

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Merseyside Police said it would make “notes” about the game’s handling of the game to relevant government agencies.

Chris Green, the deputy police chief, said he was concerned that fans saw “several disturbing scenes” at the match.

He added: “As with all European matches, officials from Merseyside have been dispatched to France to work alongside local officials in an observer and advisory capacity, and they have reported that the vast majority of fans behaved perfectly, early and early. They arrived at the gates as instructed and they will be Send their feedback to the relevant authorities as part of the match debriefing.”