Uefa has apologized to Liverpool and Real Madrid fans who were caught up in the events surrounding the Champions League final and has stated that this must not happen again.
Last Saturday’s championship game was marred by heavy-handed policing, organizational chaos, and overcrowding, according to Liverpool fans. Real Madrid have asked for answers on the “series of unfortunate events. No football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again,” said a Uefa statement.
“Uefa wishes to sincerely apologize 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.”
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French president Emmanuel Macron said ticket holders who were blocked from entering the stadium by security staff must be reimbursed “as fast as possible”.
Macron said, “I have a thought for the families who have been pushed around, who have not been able to access the seats they had paid for. I have asked the government to clarify what happened, to determine the responsibilities and to explain them in detail to our compatriots, the British and the Spanish.”
The governing body of European football had previously announced that Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues of Portugal would lead an independent review of what happened leading up to the final and what lessons should be learned.
Late arrivals and fake tickets were blamed by French authorities and Uefa for the chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France, which caused the match to be delayed by more than 30 minutes.
Some fans were subjected to tear gas and pepper spray by police. Local gangs have also been accused of targeting supporters. Gerald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, claimed that only English fans caused problems at the final.
“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,” a statement from Uefa says.
Liverpool legend Sir Kenny Dalglish said the apology was “a start” but added, “There is still a long way to go. This apology doesn’t cover the false message about the late kick off, events at the fan park, or what happened in the aftermath.”
Real Madrid issued a statement earlier on Friday, demanding answers about “unfortunate events” during the game, which the Spanish team won 1-0.
They also want to know why the Stade de France was chosen for the game and who was “responsible for leaving the fans abandoned and defenseless. Football has transmitted an image to the world which is far away from the values and goals which it should pursue,” said the statement.
Real Madrid cited “unfortunate events” which took place “in the surroundings of and at access points to the Stade de France, and even inside the stadium itself” and added their fans “fell victim to said events”.
They added, “We would like to know the reasons which led to this venue being chosen to host the final and the criteria used, taking into account the experiences of the day.
“Furthermore, we call for answers and explanations in order to determine those responsible for leaving the fans abandoned and defenseless. Fans who in general terms showed exemplary conduct at all times.
This is important. Saw a lot of @realmadrid fans caught up in the turmoil. https://t.co/EJmfpXdfHD
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) June 3, 2022
“We believe something which should have been a wonderful festival of football for all fans who attended the game, quickly turned into a series of unfortunate events which have caused a sense of outrage around the world.
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“As was evident in the revealing images published by the media, several fans were attacked, harassed, assaulted and robbed in violent fashion.
“These occurrences continued as they moved in their cars or buses, causing concern for their physical wellbeing. Certain fans even had to spend the night in hospital as a result of injuries.”
The club added, “Our fans and supporters deserve a response and those responsible to be held accountable in order for events like these to be eradicated from football and sport in general.”