Civil claim involving Liverpool fans at 2022 Champions League final settled

By Sports Desk March 22, 2024

A civil claim involving Liverpool fans who suffered injury and distress at the 2022 Champions League final in Paris has been settled.

UEFA issued a statement on Friday evening confirming that a “full and final settlement” had been agreed with fans represented by Pogust Goodhead and Bingham Long who had made personal injury claims.

The terms of the settlement will remain confidential, UEFA said.

An independent report published last year found UEFA bore “primary responsibility” for the failures which almost led to European club football’s biggest occasion becoming a “mass fatality catastrophe”.

Serious congestion problems outside the Stade de France in Paris saw thousands of Liverpool fans penned in against perimeter fences and stuck in a motorway underpass ahead of the game against Real Madrid, with kick-off on the night delayed by more than 30 minutes.

Those same supporters, who had already been targeted by local youths trying to steal tickets, were then tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed by police.

“UEFA has already taken a number of steps following the 2022 final, including implementing recommendations from the independent review and establishing a special refund scheme,” UEFA’s statement on Friday said.

“Today, it has gone further by ensuring that Liverpool fans represented by Pogust Goodhead and Bingham Long receive a sum by way of compensation in relation to the difficulties and challenges that they were confronted with.

“The parties have agreed the terms of this statement but that the terms of the settlement will otherwise remain confidential. The settlement agreement has been made without any admission of liability. UEFA is pleased to have reached a common position which it is hoped provides closure for the fans. UEFA will be making no further comment.”

A Liverpool fan who was part of the Pogust Goodhead and Binghams claim, Matt Douglas, said in an article previously published by the firms: “We left for the game with plenty of time ahead of us. We went to enter the ground at around 3:30pm and noticed most of the gates were closed.

“When fans shouted and tried to communicate with stewards, we were mostly ignored. People kept being let into the gate, and it became worrying… a large volume of people with nowhere to go. Things were getting tense, there were kids around us crying, and I was seriously worried for my safety.

“I was next to a waist-high security divide which was about to fall over with the waves of pressure, and eventually I had to climb it rather than fall over it, but I still got injured… I broke my rib and have since been signed off work with it.

“Once we entered the ground, it got no better, we were hit with the aftermath of tear gas, and our eyes were stinging.

“I have suffered what can only be described as PTSD for weeks, I have avoided crowds, and I don’t think I’m ready to attend a football match. I certainly will never go to Paris again.

“UEFA owed a duty of care to the fans, and they failed in that duty.”

The independent panel also said it was “troubled” by the authorities’ attempts to blame Liverpool fans without tickets for the chaos “without any evidential basis”.

“Assertions that late, ticketless supporters were either the primary cause or contributed to the dangerous events have a particular resonance with Hillsborough, where similar allegations were made… and persisted for decades before being comprehensively disproved,” the report said.

Michael Burke and Paul Hudson, members of the claimants’ legal team at Pogust Goodhead, said: “We are delighted that fellow supporters of Liverpool Football Club will soon be in receipt of compensation for the difficulties and challenges they faced at the 2022 Champions League Final. This was an exceptionally important case and to have played a part in it was a privilege.”

Gerard Long, managing director of Bingham Long, added: “As a local firm, it was important for us to be able to report back to (fans) that we had resolved the matter without lengthy legal proceedings, and they will receive some compensation.

“I would like to make clear that no deduction will be taken from my clients’ damages and that they will therefore receive 100 per cent of the compensation received as part of this settlement.”

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