Liverpool v Real Madrid: Champions League final kick off delayed for ‘security reasons’

Stadium delayed signaling
Signs in the stadium told supporters that the final had been delayed ‘due to the late arrival of supporters at the stadium’

Liverpool have called for an investigation into the “unacceptable problems” faced by fans who delayed their Champions League final against Real Madrid.

UEFA delayed kick-off for more than 30 minutes, citing “security reasons”.

The match at the Stade de France in Paris did not start until 8:36 p.m. BST, with Real beating Liverpool 1-0.

Police outside the pitch fired tear gas as a small number of fans tried to break through the security barriers.

Images had emerged as the buildup of huge crowds of fans queuing to enter.

Many claimed they were at the stadium a few hours before kick-off, but were prevented from entering the ground.

“We are extremely disappointed with the stadium entry issues and breach of security perimeter that Liverpool supporters faced tonight at the Stade de France,” the Anfield club saidexternal link in a report.

“It’s the biggest game in European football and fans shouldn’t have to experience the scenes we witnessed tonight.

“We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”

European football’s governing body UEFA said it was “sympathetic to those affected by these events and will review these matters as a matter of urgency with the French police and authorities, as well as with the French Football Federation”.

“During the match, the turnstiles on the Liverpool side were blocked by thousands of fans who had bought fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles,” he explained.

“This created a backlog of fans trying to get in. As a result, kick-off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access.

“As the number of people outside the stadium continued to pile up after kick-off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.”

French police had urged fans not to force entry with tweet 20 minutes before the gameexternal link had to start.

As kick-off approached, large areas of empty seats were still visible inside the floor.

Outside, some fans were seen climbing perimeter fences or trying to get past security. Riot police were also present.

The Liverpool players emerged to warm up again at 8.06pm, with messages on the big screens inside the stadium indicating the delay was due to the late arrival of supporters.

French police said fans with counterfeit tickets tried to break into the stadium but “rapid police intervention allowed calm to return”.

They added that they were able to disperse the fans “without difficulty”.

They also said there were no major incidents in the city’s fan zones, although 500 people were moved from a bar near the Liverpool fan zone to Cours de Vincennes.

“A completely unreasonable situation” – the view of the fans

BBC journalist Nick Parrott, who was off the pitch in a personal capacity, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’ve just been pepper sprayed for the first time in my life. I’ve been to the Champions League final and I’ve never been pepper sprayed before.

“I was in front of Gate Y which has opened and closed several times over the last hour and a half, but no one has come through. Security personnel on the other side came forward and sprayed pepper spray.”

The opening ceremony started just after 8.20pm BST before the game finally started 16 minutes later.

Around 10 minutes after kick-off, Football Supporters Europe said that “thousands of people are still stuck outside the stadium, remaining calm in the face of a completely unreasonable situation”.

The body added: “Fans of the Champions League final are not to blame for tonight’s fiasco.”

BBC Sport’s John Watson on the ground said he “came across hundreds of Liverpool fans queuing at the entrance gates an hour before kick-off and not being allowed in”.

“I am unable to understand the reason for the delay being the late arrival of the fans,” he added.

Ian Byrne MP for Liverpool West Derby tweetedexternal link to say he had “enduring one of the worst experiences of my life”, blaming UEFA for “appalling security and organization putting lives at risk”.

“I pray that no fan has been hurt because of the shameful lack of organization and expertise,” he added.

The Daily Mail’s Dominic King told BBC Radio 5 Live he spoke to supporters queuing to enter the stadium.

“It came out of nowhere,” he said. “There has been no violence or antagonism. They are just appalled at the way the authorities have treated them.”

“We were told about 45 minutes before our end was full when there were thousands outside,” Liverpool fan Tyler, who spent £1,000 on his ticket, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The final was originally scheduled to be played in Saint Petersburg, but the city was stripped of the game following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

How to follow Liverpool on the BBC bannerLiverpool banner footer

Leave a Comment