Liverpool demand official inquiry into ugly scenes around Champions League final

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CNN

Liverpool Football Club have called for an official investigation into the horrific scenes that marred the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday.

The match, which Real Madrid won 1-0, was delayed by more than 35 minutes after Liverpool fans struggled to enter the stadium despite arriving many hours before kick-off.

Tear gas was used by French police as fans were held in tight areas around the Stade de France, sparking safety fears among those inside.

“We are extremely disappointed with the stadium entry issues and breach of security perimeter which Liverpool supporters faced tonight at the Stade de France,” Liverpool said in a statement.

“It’s the biggest game in European football and fans shouldn’t have to experience the scenes we witnessed tonight.

“We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”

European football governing body UEFA said the problem was caused by people without valid tickets trying to enter the stadium and tear gas was being used to maintain control.

“During the match, the turnstiles on the Liverpool side were blocked by thousands of supporters who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles,” UEFA said in a statement.

“This created a backlog of fans trying to get in. As a result, kick-off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access.

“As the number of people outside the stadium continued to pile up after kick-off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.

“UEFA is sensitive to those affected by these events and will urgently review these matters with the French police and authorities, as well as with the French Football Federation.”

Liverpool fans line up outside the stadium ahead of the UEFA Champions League final.
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Photos showed supporters crammed into fenced-off areas after a bottleneck formed around a particularly tight entry point in Liverpool.

Many fans with tickets say they were blocked from entering the stadium in dangerously crowded areas and communication with security was poor.

“People without tickets broke through the barriers and tried to enter the stadium to watch the match,” a spokesperson for the Paris police headquarters told CNN. “These attempts created crowd movements.”

As confusion spread ahead of kick-off, videos emerged on social media of people – with no clear team affiliation – climbing over the fences around the stadium and rushing into the ground.

The game finally started but there were plenty of empty seats at the Liverpool end of the stadium.

Merseyside Police, who attended the game as observers and advisers, said “the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving at the turnstiles early and queuing as instructed”.

“Their observations will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities as part of the match debriefing,” Deputy Chief Constable Chris Green said in a statement. statement.

“We know that people would have witnessed many distressing scenes last night and we wish everyone returning from Paris a safe journey.

“Our focus today will be to support Liverpool City Council with policing the return parade.”

Tensions rose as fans were kept in crowded areas.

After the match, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the team were aware of the pre-match incidents and their families had been affected.

“I couldn’t speak to my family yet, but I know families have had a really hard time getting into the stadium,” he said.

“I heard a few things that weren’t good, it was obviously quite tricky there but I don’t know more.”

Nigel HuddlestonUK Minister for Sport, Tourism and Civil Society, tweeted that he was concerned about “the upsetting scenes” around the stadium and said his department “will work with the relevant authorities to find out what happened and why”.



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