The factors which contributed to chaotic scenes at Champions League final

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The long-awaited independent report into the chaos at the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris has been published.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the factors which contributed to disorganised and worrying scenes at the Stade de France.


Liverpool fans board a train
A rail strike meant the majority of Liverpool fans arrived at the same station at the Stade de France (Jacob King/PA)

Ticket checks

Liverpool fans at a ticket check
Ticket checks were abandoned at the Stade de France (Nick Potts/PA)

Violent attacks

Abandoning ticket checks allowed a number of local youths to access the perimeter of the stadium. A number of those either attempted – and some succeeded – to jump the fence or tried to steal tickets from fans penned in as the turnstiles had been closed. The Senate report estimated 300-400 locals committed “numerous acts of theft with violence observed by the police”. After the match local gangs ambushed fans exiting the stadium and with no police protection numerous were subjected to violent robberies by thugs with weapons.

Police response

Police use pepper spray against fans at the Champions League final
Police used pepper spray against fans (Adam Davy/PA)

UEFA’s actions

Kick-off was delayed initially for 15 minutes, eventually for 36 minutes, with an initial message displayed on screens inside incorrectly blaming Liverpool fans’ late arrival which prompted outrage from Reds supporters already inside. UEFA doubled-down on the blame after the match, issuing a statement relayed to broadcasters which said: “The turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles”.

Local authority intervention

French ministers had talked of Liverpool supporters as having been a major hooligan threat, contrary to the Merseyside Police intelligence, and it emerged police had acted on a misconceived view of the Hillsborough disaster and believed it meant they had to have riot police in force. French interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, claimed “30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans” had forged or no tickets, alleging there had been an “industrial scale” ticket fraud. However, the Senate report stressed it was “unfair to have tried to blame the Liverpool supporters for the disturbances to divert attention from the state’s inability to adequately manage the crowds and to curb the actions of several hundred violent and co-ordinated delinquents”.

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