UEFA have finally apologised to fans caught up in the mayhem at last Saturday’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool after sustained pressure from the Merseyside club and politicians.
European football’s governing body and French government ministers had faced mounting anger over their claims that Liverpool supporters with fake tickets had been to blame for the crush at some turnstiles at the Stade de France. However, after Real Madrid rallied behind Liverpool by criticising the authorities, UEFA appeared to accept some blame over the security meltdown that delayed the kick-off by 36 minutes while also exonerating the English club’s supporters.
“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,” a statement said. “No football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again.”
UEFA has now published terms of reference to its independent report after Liverpool wrote asking for clarity.
“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,” UEFA said.
“The review will seek to establish a full picture and timeline of what occurred, both within the stadium and the surrounding areas, including examining spectator flows.”
UEFA added that security, mobility and ticketing arrangements would all be examined, along with planning and preparations for staging the final.
In a clarification that suggests the review would be exploring security failures rather than the actions of fans, the statement added that the review “aims to identify any issues or gaps in the implementation and running of operations”.
UEFA hopes to establish “best practice” for future events.
Hours earlier, Real Madrid had demanded answers over how the Paris venue was chosen. Although it was Liverpool fans that were mainly affected by tear-gassing and a dangerous crush before kick-off, some Spanish supporters were caught up in the chaos.
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