Champions League

Merseyside Police to meet with UEFA after Champions League fan debacle

Toby Cudworth
There were chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France
There were chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France / Matthias Hangst/GettyImages
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Merseyside Police will meet with UEFA to discuss the shocking scenes witnessed outside the Stade de France ahead of Saturday night's Champions League final.

Thousands of Liverpool supporters were bottlenecked into over congested queues and spent hours trying to make their way to the stadium. Some were pepper-sprayed and tear gassed by French police officers, with many who had legitimate tickets unable to get through security and into the game.

The final was delayed by 36 minutes as the chaos unfolded, with UEFA blaming supporters for arriving to the stadium late on big screens inside the ground. European football's governing body substantiated that claim with an official statement, saying the trouble had been caused by thousands of fans trying to get in with 'fake tickets'.

However, it's clear that there were severe organisational deficiencies, and a number of journalists have outlined the true extent of what happened.

Supporters had nowhere to go, locals tried to force their way in, and French police were exceptionally heavy-handed with the way they tried to deal with the crowds - innocent men, women and children needlessly targeted with pepper spray and tear gas.

Liverpool have requested a formal investigation to establish exactly what happened, while Merseyside Police, who had officers deployed to work at the match, have released a statement confirming they will debrief UEFA - a statement that praised the 'exemplary' behaviour of the vast majority of fans.

“We are aware of a number of reports relating to incidents both before and after last night’s Champions League Final at the Stade de France in Paris," the statement began.

“We are also aware that Liverpool FC have requested a formal investigation from UEFA and we will be linking in with both the club, UEFA and the UK Football Policing Unit to pass on the observations of our officers who attended the game and took part in the pre-match meetings with the relevant authorities.

“As with all European matches officers from Merseyside were deployed in France to work in an observatory and advisory capacity with the local officers, and they have reported the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving at turnstiles early and queuing as directed and their observations will be passed on to the relevant authorities as part of the debrief for the game.

"Many thousands of fans have travelled throughout this season to matches across Europe and we have worked closely with our supporter groups, the Club and European hosts to ensure that the matches passed without incident and fans were kept safe. Our officers returning today will conduct a formal debrief to ensure that we can fully support any subsequent investigation following last night’s game.

“We know that people would have witnessed a lot of distressing scenes last night and we wish everyone returning home from Paris a safe journey. Our focus today will be supporting Liverpool city council with the policing of the homecoming parade.”

Real Madrid won the game 1-0 to lift the European Cup/Champions League for a record-extending 14th time, thanks to Vinicius Junior's second half winner.


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