On Saturday night Liverpool fans were blamed for the chaos that ensued ahead of the Champions League final, but it seems that it wasn't the case.
Liverpool's game with Real Madrid was delayed by over half an hour, as fans in the Reds' end struggled to get into the ground, amidst reports of problems outside the stadium.
First UEFA blamed it on fans being late and later on fans having fake tickets and on some rushing barriers and forcing their way in, some reporting on it claimed it was Liverpool fans.
However, it's now been explained by those on the ground exactly how the problems began to denigrate in Paris, and how it started several hours before kick off.
Firstly, standing outside the stadium after kick off, Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol brilliantly explained what had gone down, pointing out the incredibly small gap 20,000 Liverpool fans were forced to go between.
He then explained all the checks that were going on and how turnstiles were closed, making the fans go through just two gates, before riot police tear gassed fans who'd been waiting several hours, and then French fans tried to jump fences, not Liverpool fans.
The report flies in the face of what fans not in the French capital were being told, and what many were believing and taking to social media to blame Liverpool fans.
It makes you wonder if we've learnt nothing from the horrific Hillsborough disaster in 1989, where the press blamed fans from Merseyside for the horrors that left 97 dead.
It took until 2016 for a second coroner's inquests to rule that "supporters were unlawfully killed due to grossly negligent failures by police and ambulance services to fulfil their duty of care."
If Solhekol's explanation wasn't enough for fans to believe that it wasn't actually fans from England to blame for all the issues, then there was plenty of other reports.
Rob Draper from the Daily Mail put together a great thread showing his experience of getting to the stadium with the fans, even highlighting how he told police to increase the small gap.
Want to get this out as French interior minister @GDarmanin is claiming ‘thousands of ticketless British fans’ caused the issues. Sure this plays well in France. I note he was tweeting from safety of observation box in stadium + wasn’t on the ground— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
And here’s the crucial bit of evidence, the pressure point which caused the majority of problems. Police had for some reasons parked 3/4 vans across the paths, making a broad walkway suddenly narrow causing a bottleneck. I shot this at 19.22 after about 10mins of waiting pic.twitter.com/4KyA7gAg4l— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
I began speaking to police (in French) asking why the vans were parked there? Could they move them? They shrugged told us to move on. This is about 19.10. I said: ‘It’s dangerous. There are thousands of people behind. In 10mins, it will be more dangerous …’— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
Bear in mind these are fans who arrived at metro at 18.30-18.45 (more than 2 hours before KOFF) It’s now 19.20. But we’re 30-40m from LFC end— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
When you got under the bridge shown, I looked back and saw this. Remember, I’m taking these photos at 19.28 because I can sense the chaos coming. They wouldn’t use the road to release pressure. Thousands of fans are arriving behind… pic.twitter.com/pqrEgVHP2I— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
At this point it may be worth referencing the stadium plan. We’re passing under the main road to south to Gate X. It’s 19.30. We’re within metres of LFC end. But now, incredibly, things got worse. (I started texting UEFA officials at this point to warn them of chaos) pic.twitter.com/Link7GZZww— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
We were now being directed AWAY from the LFC end. Worse, gates U, T, S and R were all shut. Who took this operational decision? Was the concourse dangerously overcrowded? (Didn’t look that way) Kettling 1000s of fans into 1 corner 90mins before KOFF, closing gates, seemed mad— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
On top of Portacabins there were police. One officer was mocking fans. There was a female officer and (stereotype alert) I thought she might be more responsive. Tried to get her attention saying ‘It’s dangerous!’ The blind fans with guides were still working their way thru….— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
There had been no ticket checks up to this point. It was impossible to get thru. Q wasn’t moving and clearly wasn’t going to move. By now there were whistles, tension + flustered UEFA officials, bemused police, overwhelmed stewards. gate N had 5 or 6 people checking tickets….— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
So, thanks to them. But it shouldn’t be like that. This is about 20.00, an hour before KOFF. It seemed clear to me the fans I’d left behind were unlikely to get in. Important to note that at this stage noone had tried to climb barriers, rush gates, etc.— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
Clearly situation degenerated once I’d left. Increasingly frustrated and kettled fans, anxious for KOFF, ratcheted up the chaos. There were some examples of some fans trying to climb fences but watch this from @marcosbenito9 (in Spanish but pics tell a story) 👇 https://t.co/hIMYNQdGV4— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
He specifically says that fans scaling fences and running in were local youths. Obviously it’s hard to tell but none of those in shots have LFC colours. Indeed a LFC fans tries to stop one, doing better job than stewards— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
One feature of Lord Justice Taylor report into Hillsborough was the complete lack of sensible response from police on ground because they didn’t have authority to change plans. Senior commanders were elsewhere. This is exactly what happened last night— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
3) If, as @UEFA says, forged tickets caused backlog, when are you saying this started? Because backlog caused by police vans + shut gates was at 18.45. I find it doubtful that 2hrs + before KOFF forged ticket backlog was causing problem. If it was, why was there no contingency?— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
5) If there were thousands of ticketless British fans can we see evidence, TV footage etc. Obvs I’m sure there were some. But show us the time stamps of when they’re attempting access. I suspect most will be after 19.30, when it was already chaotic— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
What was similar is that the authorities allowed a build-up of pressure, didn’t execute ticket checks early enough, chaos ensued and when crowds sense authority breaking down, bad actors try to exploit that. But vast majority didn’t— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
A spokesperson for Merseyside Police, who were out in Paris to help their French counterparts, said, "MERPOL was deployed to this evening’s match.
"Can only describe it as the worst European match I’ve ever worked or experienced.
"I thought the behaviour of the fans at the turnstiles was exemplary in shocking circumstances.
"You were not late 100%."
It wasn’t “British” causing issues outside the ground. It was gangs of your citizens causing chaos. Doing what they could to get in the ground before the match and attacking/robbing people afterwards.pic.twitter.com/X2IiH9eEPg https://t.co/vk3jDzdnvb— Daniel Nicolson (@danielnicolson) May 29, 2022
I uploaded this video at 20.30 yesterday.— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) May 29, 2022
But it was shot one hour before, at 19.26, hour and 34 minutes before kick off.
When I saw this I already thought it could go very wrong.
Had bitter feeling during the delay.
It has been a true miracle that no one got hurt https://t.co/I0CIeg30mR
I mean seriously… what is this?— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) May 29, 2022
Fans literally just walking through a gate to scan their tickets and this happens? It makes no sense… pic.twitter.com/WDmgisLMST
One day we'll learn not to blame Liverpool fans just because of lies we were told over 30 years ago.
Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports/Twitter
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