The factors that contributed to the chaotic scenes in the Champions League final

The long-awaited independent report into the chaos of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris has been published.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the factors that contributed to disorganized and anxious scenes at the Stade de France.


Liverpool fans board a train

A rail strike meant most Liverpool fans arrived at the same station at the Stade de France (Jacob King/PA)

A rail strike meant that only one of the two rail lines to the stadium was fully operational, leaving thousands of Liverpool fans traveling from the city center arriving at the same Stade de France station Saint-Denis. There were no signs on the 15-minute walk to the stadium and fans were led into a built-up area and through a narrow subway and motorway underpass – partially blocked by strategically placed police vans – to a checkpoint at the bottom of 30 n -place. foot ramp not designated as main entrance.

Ticket checks

Liverpool fans checking a ticket

Ticket checks left at the Stade de France (Nick Potts/PA)

Due to the length of time required to check tickets – complicated by issuing a mix of paper and digital tickets – traffic congestion at checkpoints increased significantly with an estimated 15,000 fans crammed into the area more than twice that respect before the start. . The French Senate’s report in the final that there had been a “risk of crushing” – especially traumatic for Liverpool fans, especially the Hillsborough survivors – was accepted and advance ticket checking was abandoned.

Violent attacks

By abandoning ticket checks some local youths were able to gain access to the perimeter of the stadium. Some of those tried – and some succeeded – to jump the fence or tried to steal tickets from fans who were written in with the twist gates closed. The Senate report estimated that 300-400 local people had “several acts of theft and violence observed by the police”. After the game local gangs ambushed the fans leaving the stadium and with no protection from the police armed thugs committed several violent robberies.

Police response

Police use pepper spray against fans in the Champions League final

Police used pepper spray against fans (Adam Davy/PA)

After allowing the crowd to build to dangerous levels outside the perimeter, the police response was to indiscriminately pepper spray fans – including children – who were pressed up against the railings in an attempt to ease the pressure on the turnstiles . As the game drew to a close, police in riot gear emerged inside the stadium and were stationed around the Liverpool – but not Madrid – end. However, the lack of a presence outside the stadium led to gangs running riot against defenseless supporters outside.

UEFA actions

Kick-off was initially delayed by 15 minutes, eventually by 36 minutes, and an initial message displayed on screens inside incorrectly blamed the late arrival of Liverpool fans, angering Reds supporters already inside. own. UEFA doubled down on blame after the game, releasing a statement passed on to broadcasters which said: “The gates were blocked by thousands of fans who had bought fake tickets that didn’t work in the turnstiles turn at Liverpool’s end”.

Local authority intervention

French ministers said Liverpool supporters were a serious hooligan threat, contrary to information from Merseyside Police, and it emerged police acted on a misunderstanding of the Hillsborough disaster and believed it meant they had to have riot police. in force. French interior minister Gerald Darmanin claimed that “30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans” had fake or no tickets, alleging ticket fraud on an “industrial scale”. However, the Senate report stressed that it was “unfair to attempt to blame Liverpool supporters for the unrest in order to divert attention from the state’s inability to adequately manage crowds and contain the actions of hundreds of violent and coordinated criminals”.

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