Uefa urged action after a damning report on the chaos in the Champions League final

Liverpool on Tuesday urged Uefa to ensure the chaotic scenes at last year’s Champions League final never happen again, after an independent report found it “remarkable” that no one died.

Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan said that European football’s governing body should translate all of the report’s recommendations into the botched handling of the Champions League final between the club and Real Madrid last May at the Stade de France in Paris.

The report, commissioned by Uefa and prepared by an independent panel led by Portuguese politician Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, found that Uefa “bearing primary responsibility for mistakes that almost resulted in disaster”. It also blamed French police and the country’s football federation for responsibility.

The results contrast with how Uefa and the French government initially blamed Liverpool fans for the chaos at the Champions League final.

Hogan said Liverpool football club was “really upset” by the “rush for judgment” and messages at the stadium at the final blaming fans.

The start of the final was delayed by more than half an hour as French authorities struggled to manage the crowd of fans outside the stadium. In the end, Real Madrid won the game.

Criticizing Uefa, the French police and the country’s football federation, the report noted that the problems at the final were the result of “poor planning, lack of oversight of the plans, poor interoperability between different stakeholders and a lack of contingencies”. .

It added: “The dangerous conditions in the concourse outside the turnstiles were exacerbated by police using tear gas on disorderly groups of locals and pepper spray on supporters attempting to gain entry with valid tickets. It is remarkable that no one lost their life.”

The report’s 21 recommendations include the need for paramedics and first responders to be visible at UEFA matches at all times, better communication with fans, digital ticketing and police commanders watching more matches to learn best practices.

Uefa said it is reviewing the report’s recommendations “to introduce appropriate changes and precautions to ensure the highest level of safety for fans at future finals”.

Uefa general secretary Theodore Theodoridis apologized to Liverpool fans for what they witnessed at the final and “for the news that was released before and during the game which led to them being unfairly blamed for the situation which led to the late kick-off”.

Uefa said they have plans for a refund system for fans who attended the final.

An independent inquiry by the French Senate last July did not blame Liverpool fans, instead pointing to poor transport and security plans and an insufficient number of police officers.

Initial criticism of Liverpool fans by Uefa and French authorities was particularly sensitive because the club’s supporters were wrongly blamed for the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium tragedy.

Last month, police leaders apologized to the families of 97 people who died after attending Liverpool’s FA Cup match against Nottingham Forest. An official investigation identified police errors.

© David Klein/Sportimage/Alamy

French riot police face Liverpool fans indoors © Nick Potts/PA

https://www.ft.com/content/7a8ea9eb-aded-4978-a830-df1571e2be4e Uefa urged action after a damning report on the chaos in the Champions League final

Adam Bradshaw

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