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Champions League final statement on 'late' fans was pre prepared

Ryan Sidle

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Champions League final statement on 'late' fans was pre prepared

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Fans were always going to be blamed for being 'late' for the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, with UEFA pre preparing their statement.

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Back in May, the Champions League final at the Stade de France was marred by ugly incidents outside the ground ahead of kick off, with Liverpool fans tear gassed by police as they tried getting in the ground.

The kick off to the match had to be delayed, with thousands of travelling supporters still unable to get inside the stadium in Paris, with 20,000 fans forced to walk through a small gap with the rest of the street blocked off by a police car.

Early reports on television didn't give much insight to what was going on but fans on the ground reported their experiences of waiting for hours.

However, inside the ground UEFA blamed the fans for being 'late' to the game and that's why they were still outside for the original kick off time.

The sign in the stadium. Image: Alamy
The sign in the stadium. Image: Alamy

They then displayed a statement on the screens inside the ground, saying, "Due to the late arrival of fans, the match has been delayed. Further information will follow in 15 minutes maximum."

According to the Guardian, the decision to blame fans was made in the planning stages of the match, in the result that there was a delay to kick off.

A statement later in the night claimed that thousands of Liverpool fans with 'fake tickets' had been to blame for the delay, which was also proved to be wrong information.

Fans locked out of the stadium. Image: Alamy
Fans locked out of the stadium. Image: Alamy

Whilst UEFA were blaming Liverpool fans, and pundits on TV had no idea what as going on, journalists on the ground were explaining what was going on.

Sky Sports' Kaveh Solhekol and the Mail's Rob Draper expertly summed up all the issues, having had first hand experience of it all, unlike many of those commenting on social media.

French officials and UEFA continued to blame Liverpool fans for the issues, with claims of as many as 40,000 'fake tickets' being used by fans.

However, that was quickly debunked, with another report proving that only 2,589 fakes confiscated and there was no official reports of others.

Fans outside the stadium were tear gassed. Image: Alamy
Fans outside the stadium were tear gassed. Image: Alamy

Fan representatives have since been in French courts demanding an apology, with Joe Blott, chair of fan group Spirit of Shankly, comparing the lies of officials to the ones used by the British government following the Hillsborough disaster.

"To hear French authorities use similar lies to those used by the British all those years ago once again in 2022, about fans arriving late, or with fake tickets, or drunk, has caused an immense amount of shock, anger and pain," Blott said.

""Supporters of Liverpool and Real Madrid did not cause problems. In 2018 in Kyiv there was no violence. The difference this time is the presence of local gangs."

Whilst Real fans were not subject to the same conditions as those from England, they still complained about the decision to host the final in Paris.

Topics: Champions League, Real Madrid, Liverpool

Ryan Sidle
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