PARIS: UEFA announced on Tuesday that it will compensate all Liverpool fans who attended last year’s chaotic Champions League final against Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris.
European football’s governing body, which was heavily criticized in an independent report released last month for organizational mistakes that “nearly led to disaster”, said its reimbursement scheme would cover Liverpool’s entire allocation of nearly 20,000.
It will also include Real fans and other spectators affected by the unrest outside the stadium.
“Refunds are available to all fans… if the most difficult circumstances have been reported,” UEFA said, adding that any ticket holders who did not or were unable to enter the stadium by the originally scheduled kick-off time would also receive a refund.
“According to these criteria, the special refund system covers Liverpool FC’s entire ticket allocation for the final, ie 19,618 tickets.”
Real’s 1-0 win on May 28 was overshadowed by the fiasco outside. Kick-off was delayed by 37 minutes as fans struggled to get into France’s national stadium after police ushered them into crowded chokepoints as they approached.
Police then fired tear gas at thousands of fans locked behind metal fences at the edge of the stadium.
UEFA tried to blame Liverpool fans for being late, despite thousands being detained outside the stadium for hours before kick-off.
– Continuation of the legal process –
A Liverpool supporters group, Spirit of Shankly, later said fans were left in a “vortex of chaos and alarm” “fearing for their lives”.
The Spirit of Shankly and the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association welcomed the decision to compensate supporters but said it didn’t go far enough.
A joint statement said the announcement “does not excuse or exonerate UEFA from criticism or reduce the need for it to implement all of the recommendations of the independent investigation”.
Lawyers representing hundreds of Liverpool fans said they would continue to take legal action against UEFA.
“Not only did UEFA ruin the biggest event of football season, people were injured and traumatized and any compensation must reflect that,” said Clare Campbell and Jill Paterson, partners at Leigh Day law firm, which represents more than 800 Liverpool fans.
“We will continue to advance our legal right to appropriate compensation for our clients.”
French authorities claimed an “industrial fraud” using counterfeit tickets was the problem.
An investigation by the French Senate in July found poorly executed security was at the root of the chaos.
The independent report stated that “UEFA, as the event’s owner, bears primary responsibility for failures that nearly resulted in disaster”.
“We have taken into account a wide range of public and private opinions and believe we have developed a comprehensive and fair programme,” said UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis.
“We recognize the negative experiences of these fans that day and with this program we will reimburse fans who bought tickets who were most affected by the difficulties in accessing the stadium.”
In a brief statement, the English club said: “This is a UEFA refund policy, not a Liverpool FC policy.
“The club’s role as ticket agent for this match is to manage refunds to qualifying fans who purchased match tickets through LFC in accordance with UEFA’s instructions.”
Images of the final tarnished France’s reputation for hosting major sporting events ahead of the Rugby World Cup this year and the 2024 Olympics. The final of the former will be held at the Stade de France, which will also be the venue for the Olympic track and field competitions.
This year’s Champions League final will take place on June 10 in Istanbul. –AFP
https://www.thesundaily.my/home/uefa-to-refund-liverpool-fans-for-paris-champions-league-final-fiasco-AE10722471 UEFA reimburses Liverpool fans for Paris Champions League final fiasco