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UEFA gathers evidence on Champions League final

The French government blames Liverpool supporters. The English club is furious at “the irresponsibility and lack of professionalism” for rushing to conclusions. UEFA will now try to find out what went wrong in the disorder and chaos at the Champions League final in Paris between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

UEFA began gathering evidence about the problems outside the Stade de France on Saturday that marred one of soccer’s biggest games.

Liverpool’s leading groups complained about harsh police action and poor organization on an alarming night in which children and elderly people were pepper-sprayed.

Richard Bouigue, deputy mayor of the 12th municipality of Paris, said that “the time for official denial is over, it is time for apology,” in a letter to Liverpool fans.

“I deplore the inadequacy of game organization and lack of order that led to this royal fiasco,” he wrote in a letter to the Spirit of Shankly group, seen by The Associated Press.

The key issues they will need to consider in the investigation:

BAD ORGANIZATION

The challenge of hosting the final just three months early – Paris hosted the match in February following a decision to strip the rights to the Russian city of St Petersburg – has been raised as a reason for the chaos.

Months and instead of years to plan a final was enough time for the hospitals to be ready and the stadium to have the image of the competition.

However, there were not enough signs on the streets leading to the stadium, on the subway and on the train lines. Although there was private security at the stadium entrances, there were no volunteers deployed to assist and inform fans unfamiliar with the streets.

MESSAGE FROM UEFA

“The late arrival of the fans” was the initial reason given for the delay in the start of the match, which reached 37 minutes. Although there was clear evidence that many supporters were in the vicinity of the stadium nearly three hours before the scheduled start of the game and simply ended up stuck in lines that did not move.

POLICEMAN

Why did the police use bottlenecks to control the influx of spectators? There will have to be an investigation into public order in the final, from how the dangerous route to the stadium from the train and metro station was planned, as well as the harsh treatment of supporters with the indiscriminate use of tear gas and pepper spray in areas in which there were children and older people. There are images of the police spraying the gas directly in the faces of fans.

TICKET

This will be the key issue of the investigation after the French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin indicated that there was “massive fraud at the industrial level” and assured that “70% of the tickets arriving at the Stade de France were false”. That figure was received with caution.

Current and former Liverpool players — including Andrew Robertson — said tickets they received through legitimate channels were not accepted at the gate. No doubt there were some bogus tickets — The Associated Press was shown an example of one. But the Associated Press is also aware of readers’ failure to validate genuine tickets. Were those also considered fake at the turnstiles?

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