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UEFA Apologises over Champions League Final Chaos in Paris

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European football’s governing body UEFA has apologised to fans for the uproar that marred the build-up to the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris.

UEFA announced on Tuesday that it had launched an independent review into the access issues that led to fans being crushed and tear-gassed outside the Stade de France in Paris before Real Madrid’s 1-0 win against Liverpool.

The match was delayed by more than 30 minutes after officers forcefully held back people trying to enter the Stade de France while riot police also sprayed tear gas on fans, including women and children.

Read Also: French Government Meet over Champions League Final Commotion

UEFA has now released a statement apologising for the distress caused to supporters, reading: “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 May 28, 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.”

Real Madrid have called on authorities to explain why their supporters were left “helpless and defenceless” at the Champions League final in Paris’ Stade de France.

Real – who won the Champions League for a record 14th time – say they also want to know why the stadium was chosen as the venue for the match, which was moved from St Petersburg in February after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Spanish side said their supporters were “victims” of the “unfortunate events” that took place at the Stade de France, adding that the scenes had caused “deep outrage around the world”.

Real’s statement said “many of the fans were violently assaulted, harassed and robbed” and “some of them even had to spend the night in hospital”.

Their complaints echo those of Liverpool, with Billy Hogan, the Premier League club’s chief executive, saying this week he has been “horrified” by accounts from fans after receiving more than 6,000 pieces of feedback about issues surrounding last week’s game.

UEFA initially blamed the delayed kick-off on Liverpool fans arriving late to the stadium, while Gerald Darmanin, the French interior minister, blamed “fraud at an industrial level” for the chaos at the Champions League final, saying 70 per cent of the tickets used to attempt entry into the Stade de France were fake.

Amelie Oudea-Castera, the French sports minister, added that up to 40,000 people either had fake tickets or no ticket at all and that “everyone wants to ensure this will never happen again”. She has commissioned a report on the troubles.

Hogan said his response to the sports minister’s claims was “disbelief”, and added that he had spoken to his counterpart at Real Madrid, “who made it clear that their fans also had issues”.

Hogan added: “They had major concerns with the matchday operation, including the policing operation around the match. I know they’re equally concerned about making sure this, again, is an independent and open investigation.”

The Liverpool chief executive added that the club wrote to UEFA again on Thursday with 13 questions that they want to answer around the investigation into events at the final.

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