Liverpool supporters group slams 'shambolic mismanagement' after Champions League final chaos

By Sports Desk May 29, 2022

Liverpool supporters' group Spirit of Shankly has slammed organisers for the chaos that engulfed the Champions League final in Paris.

The start of the match, in which Real Madrid went on to win 1-0, was twice delayed as Liverpool fans struggled to enter the Stade de France, with UEFA blaming congestion outside the stadium on supporters attempting to use fake tickets.

France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin also accused "thousands of British 'supporters', without tickets or with counterfeit tickets" for causing the disruption by attempting to force their way into the stadium.

But British broadcaster BT Sport reported that fans had been tear-gassed outside the stadium, while Merseyside Police have since claimed the "vast majority" of Liverpool supporters behaved in an "exemplary manner".

The force has also pledged to support Liverpool's request for a formal investigation into the "unacceptable issues" which fans faced prior to the match.

Members of the media at the Stade de France reported that Liverpool fans were funnelled through a small gap between police vans under a flyover en route to the stadium, while videos shared on social media show police using pepper spray on some supporters who merely appeared to be attempting to scan their tickets.

Spirit of Shankly on Sunday hit out at organisers' "shambolic mismanagement" of the final, refuting UEFA's initial suggestions that late-arriving fans had contributed to the disturbing scenes.

In a statement on their website, the group also accused organisers of "incompetence" and backed up claims of "indiscriminate use of tear gas and pepper spray" by the French police.

"Once again Liverpool supporters, and we are hearing, Real Madrid supporters, have felt the disorganisation and shambolic mismanagement of a major final by UEFA," the statement began.

"Their comments may have changed before the match, but what remained consistent was their narrative that fans were to blame.

"Fans were not late. Many began arriving more than two-and-a-half hours before the scheduled kick-off time. They had legitimate tickets but failed to gain entry. 

"The failure rests with UEFA, the French authorities and police.

"The consequence of such incompetence was the not-unusual heavy-handed response from the police and their indiscriminate use of tear gas and pepper spray."

The statement also claims that fans were subsequently left vulnerable after the match had finished.

"The French authorities and police also failed to control gangs of local youths before and after the match. Innocent fans were left distraught after they were assaulted, bags pick pocketed and match tickets stolen," the statement continued.

"The safety and well-being of our fans is paramount and in the weeks leading up to the game, Spirit of Shankly worked closely with Liverpool FC, Football Supporters Europe, and Merseyside Police to ensure all that could be done would be done to secure this. It was not. And that collective work was ignored by UEFA and the relevant French authorities.

"We will now work with those same organisations to gather evidence of all affected by the events in Paris. It is incumbent on UEFA, the French authorities and police to take responsibility.

"They need to send representatives to Liverpool to meet with LFC and Spirit of Shankly. Lessons need to be learned so that this never happens again."

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