Pregnant women, children and elderly were “pepper” spread at Stade de France during Champions League final.
Chaos reigned in Paris as the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid was delayed 36 minutes amid frightening scenes outside the Stade de France which saw poor organisation result in fans dangerously crushed and then pushed back with pepper spray and tear gas as bottlenecks developed more than two hours before kick-off.
Following on from riotous scenes which ruined the Euro 2020 final at Wembley last summer, UEFA’s organisation was again in spotlight and the blame game began on Saturday night, with French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin laying the responsibility with ticketless ‘British fans’, apparently unaware or ignoring how the police force’s own disorganisation and ineptitude had started the initial bedlam.
Thousands of Liverpool fans and players families were caught up in crowd crushes, as they found themselves unable to enter the stadium in time for the scheduled kick-off time, while riot police used their tear gas and pepper spray on children and elderly.
German TV reported that Marvin Matip, the brother of Liverpool defender Joel, had to flee with his family and pregnant wife while they tried to get access in the stadium because of tear gas deployed by police.
Liverpool’s 1981 European Cup match-winner Alan Kennedy, who had to be helped over a fence near the stadium to avoid trouble. Spain’s Minister for Sport José Manuel Franco was caught in the dangerous scenes, confirming that was taking more than an hour to cover the last 100m to the stadium.
UEFA later said that fans with forged tickets in the Liverpool end had caused blockages, because the fake tickets’ barcodes wouldn’t work on turnstiles, causing a back of fans.
Yet the principal initial bottle neck was caused by police parking vans across a wide pavement, reducing it to a 2-3 metre entrance which fans then had to navigate around the vans near Gate X.
It had nothing to do with forged tickets at that point and was within 50m of the stadium and the Liverpool end. Despite being told a dangerous crush was building up, police said they couldn’t move the vans and were waiting for authority from commanders to do so.
Fans were pleading with them to alleviate the situation yet to no avail. All this took place at 7pm, two hours before kick off with the vast majority of fans having arrived in good time and were within sight of the Liverpool end.
Adapted from football italia