Liverpool defender Andy Robertson criticized the use of fans at the Champions League final by French police and challenged Uefa’s report of problems outside the Stade de France after tear gas and pepper spray were used on those trapped outside the ground.
Thousands of supporters missed the kick-off against Real Madrid, which was delayed by 36 minutes due to uneasy congestion problems that resulted in large numbers blocked around the perimeter for several hours.
However, more concerned was the chaotic way in which authorities chose to deal with the situation. French police inside the fence used tear gas on fans outside after Gate Y, one of the two main gates on a narrow walkway that 20,000 supporters tried to access, was closed for an hour in the lead until it started in response to growing frustration from fans lining up for enter and postpone due to problems scanning tickets and security searches. Several Liverpool supporters with tickets, growing concerned for their safety, gave up trying to enter the game and left the scene.
Robertson revealed that many of the players’ families and friends were trapped in the chaos and said: “You have to have some sympathy because that was thrown on Paris as if at the last minute with everything that happened to Russia.” The final was moved from St. Petersburg after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
“But how a UEFA competition it is the biggest game in world football and it should be organized much better. Such things should not happen and certainly the force used by certain authorities should not happen either.
“Almost all of our families have been affected. I can only speak for my family and all I know is that everyone is safe and that is my top priority. I hope all fans are safe. “
Liverpool are understood to be furious at Uefa’s “completely inaccurate” initial blame for the late start on the late arrival of fans and have called for an official investigation.
The European football board later said in a statement that the fault lay with “thousands of fans who bought fake tickets that did not work at the turntables”.
Paris Governorate of Police later issued its own statement claiming that people either without tickets or counterfeits “exerted strong pressure to enter the enclosure” which resulted in the late access.
That version of events does not match many reports from fans and what Robertson was told to himself.
The left-hander said: “My tickets were through the club and someone told one of my teammates that he had a fake ticket, which I can assure you was not because it was obviously through me. Then obviously the French police decided to throw tear gas at fans and families. It’s not well organized. ”
The group of supporters Spirit of Shankly described the scenes as “completely shabby and extremely dangerous”.
The problems did not end there for fans as follows the 1-0 defeat many were reportedly attacked and looted by locals on the 10-minute walk back to train stations.
Former Liverpool defender and now television expert Jim Beglin said people were running “protection from theft”. He tweeted: “Last night’s match was the scariest I’ve ever had. Organized gangs engaged in the theft of departing fans.
“We ran counter-protection on our way to the Metro. There is no police officer in sight. Witnessed so many ambush attacks on unsuspecting bystanders. Reprehensible @UEFA. “
SOS added: “Many of our committee members witnessed gangs of local youths acting with impunity – the police just watched them and seemed reluctant to intervene.”
Merseyside police, who had officers deployed in Paris to work in observer and advisory capacity, said the majority of fans behaved in an “exemplary” manner, arrived at turnstiles early and lined up reportedly. The force said that these officers will contribute their observations to the relevant authorities for the newsletter.
Assistant police chief Chris Green said: “We know people will witness many annoying scenes last night and we wish everyone returning home from Paris a safe journey. Our focus today will be to support Liverpool City Council with overseeing the return parade.”
Minister of Sports Nigel Huddleston tweeted: “We are very concerned about the disturbing scenes around the Stade de France last night and will work with the appropriate authorities to find out what happened and why.”