UEFA apologises to Liverpool and Real Madrid fans affected by Champions League final chaos

Supporters were crushed and tear-gassed outside the Stade de France before the Champions League final. Credit: PA images

UEFA has “sincerely” apologised to all fans affected by the chaotic events at the Champions League final in Paris.

The football’s governing body announced on Tuesday that it had launched an independent review into issues that caused "terrifying" scenes outside the Stade de France.

Football fans were crushed and tear-gassed by French police outside the stadium before Real Madrid’s 1-0 win against Liverpool on Saturday, 28 May.

UEFA has now released a further statement apologising for the distress caused to supporters.

The statement read: “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 at the Stade de France on 28 May 2022 in Paris, on a night which should have been a celebration of European club football. 

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

"To that end, immediately after the events, UEFA commissioned an Independent Review to identify shortcomings and responsibilities of all entities involved in the organisation of the final, and has today published the Terms of Reference for this review.

“The Independent Review, which will be led by Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues from Portugal, aims at understanding what happened in the build-up to the final, and determining what lessons should be learned to ensure there is no repeat of the actions and events of that day."

UEFA said it will also examine “all relevant operational plans related to security, mobility, ticketing, as well as others”.

It added: “The Review will engage with UEFA and all relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to, fan groups including Football Supporters Europe as well as those of the two finalist clubs; the finalist clubs themselves; general spectators; the French Football Federation; the Police and other public national and local authorities, and the stadium operator.”

UEFA confirmed it would set up an online questionnaire so all “relevant parties can submit their testimonies” via a dedicated email address, which has yet to be announced.

The governing body initially blamed the late arrival of fans for the problems before later issuing a statement referring to fake tickets as the cause.

French government ministers reiterated the latter claims, alleging “fraud at an industrial level” leading to the fiasco that followed.

Police use pepper spray against fans outside the ground as the kick off is delayed during the UEFA Champions League Final. Credit: PA images

Although it was Liverpool fans that were mainly affected, some Real Madrid supporters were caught up in the mayhem as well, leading to club releasing a damning statement.

Los Blancos response came after Liverpool wrote to UEFA asking for clarity over how the planned report would be compiled.

Thousands of Reds supporters submitted first-hand accounts, which Liverpool MP Ian Bryne described it as the "most horrific experience" since the Hillsborough tragedy.

He told ITV News: "There will be many people like me who were at Hillsborough who would have felt those horrible sensations come back to them - when they were seeing people crushed against fences."

Sir Kenny Dalglish, the former player who was Liverpool manager at Hillsborough, is sceptical about UEFA's statement.

Once again supporters are meeting this weekend to discuss their next moves in the campaign to highlight what went wrong in Paris and ensure the authorities don't make the same mistakes again.

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