HomeChampions LeagueUEFA apologise to fans for 'distressing events' at Champions League final

UEFA apologise to fans for ‘distressing events’ at Champions League final

Champions League Final - Liverpool v Real Madrid
Soccer Football – Champions League Final – Liverpool v Real Madrid – Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France – May 28, 2022 Fans, stewards and police officers by the turnstiles inside the stadium as the match is delayed REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

(Reuters) – UEFA have issued an apology to the fans who were affected by the events surrounding the Champions League final after ticket fraud and crowd trouble marred the showpiece event at the Stade de France in Paris.

The match was delayed by more than 30 minutes after officers forcefully held back people trying to enter the Stade de France while riot police had also sprayed tear gas on fans, including women and children.

“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… on a night which should have been a celebration of European club football,” it said in a statement on Friday.

“No football fan should be put in that situation and it must not happen again.”

Much of the blame was placed on Liverpool fans by France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin but he acknowledged police were caught off-guard by several hundred local “delinquents” who turned up to cause trouble.

Europe’s soccer governing body had commissioned an independent report earlier this week.

On Friday they outlined its scope as they look to establish a timeline of events, examine operational plans, assess roles and responsibilities and the response to events inside and outside the stadium.

“The Review will engage with UEFA and all relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to, fan groups… the finalist clubs themselves, general spectators, the French Football Federation, the police and other public national and local authorities, and the stadium operator,” it added.

Real Madrid had demanded answers from organisers over measures taken to protect supporters while Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan had reiterated a call for an investigation, saying they had written to UEFA and raised specific questions.

Real Madrid won Saturday’s final 1-0 to win a record-extending 14th European Cup.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)