Uefa blames 'fake tickets' for Champions League final stadium chaos

Thousands of Liverpool fans prevented from entering Stade de France as police fired tear gas to disperse crowd

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European football's governing body, Uefa, said "fake tickets" were to blame for the 36-minute delay to Saturday's Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid as chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France prevented thousands of fans from entering the stadium.

Uefa said French police had fired tear gas to disperse thousands of frustrated fans who were building up outside the ground as a result of the fake tickets issue.

But Liverpool said they were "hugely disappointed" that their supporters had been subjected to an "unacceptable" breakdown of the security perimeter at France's national stadium, while Reds defender Andrew Robertson described the organisation as a "shambles".

The final of Europe's most prestigious club competition was supposed to kick off at 9:00pm local time (11pm UAE) but was pushed back due to the queues of mainly Liverpool fans who could not get into the ground.

"In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles," Uefa said in a statement.

"This created a build-up of fans trying to get in. As a result, the kick-off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access. As numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kick-off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium."

Uefa said they were "sympathetic" to the fans affected and would review the situation together with local police and authorities, as well as the French Football Federation.

Some of the supporters with valid tickets did not get into the ground until the end of the first half. However, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin pointed the finger squarely at the Liverpool fans.

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"Thousands of British 'supporters' either without tickets or with fake ones forced their way through and sometimes behaved violently towards the stewards," he tweeted.

Police fired tear gas after several dozen people attempted to climb over barriers, with security staff having to round up about 20 fans who succeeded in clearing the fence and getting into the ground.

Thousands of supporters were still massed outside the stadium with half an hour to go until kick-off.

Liverpool, however, were adamant fans had been badly treated ahead of a match that Real won 1-0 thanks to Vinicius Junior's 59th-minute goal.

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"We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced this evening at Stade de France," the English club said in a statement.

"This is the greatest match in European football and supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight. We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues."

Football Supporters Europe, a lobby group, said fans were not to blame for the "fiasco" at the Stade de France, while Robertson hit out at the organisers.

"One of my mates got told it was a fake, which I assure you it wasn't. It was a shambles really," Robertson, 28, told the BBC. "To be honest, people were just making it up at times and panicking. Teargas getting thrown at people was unacceptable.

Andrew Robertson described the organisation as a "shambles". PA

"It was horrendous for our fans and all families that have been through it as well. It wasn't a nice experience, not a nice final to come to. The Champions League should be a celebration but it wasn't that."

Nearly 7,000 police were deployed for the event to deal with between 30,000 and 40,000 Liverpool fans thought to have travelled to Paris without tickets.

A fan zone with a capacity of 44,000 was set up for them on an avenue in the east of the French capital.

French police said early Sunday they had arrested a ticket tout who had been selling around 50 fake tickets near the Liverpool fan zone.

Updated: May 29, 2022, 4:49 AM
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