French police fired tear gas at frustrated Liverpool supporters waiting in long lines to get into the stadium in Paris
Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool supporters forced to endure long waits to get into the Champions League final against Real Madrid as chaos erupted outside the Stade de France in Paris.
UEFA and French authorities blamed overcrowding at turnstiles on people trying to access the stadium with fake tickets on Saturday.
The match was delayed for 37 minutes and kicked off as security officers still struggled with the flow of angry supporters into the Stade de France. Liverpool eventually lost 1-0 to Real Madrid.
UEFA said there were thousands of ticketless fans trying to gain access to the 80,000-plus capacity French national stadium, but it did not identify where they were from.
Angry Liverpool fans held in the lines were seen hanging onto railings and heard shouting: “Let us in. We’ve got tickets.”
Liverpool Football Club demanded a formal investigation.
“We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced,” the club said in a statement. “This is the greatest match in European football and supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight.”
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said stadium stewards were assaulted by fans who forced their way in without tickets or with counterfeit tickets.
French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra tweeted: “Violence has no place in the stadiums.”
There was anger on the Liverpool squad after losing the final.
“Pretty much all of our families were affected,” Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said. “Obviously my tickets were through the club and somehow somebody told one of my mates that he’s got a fake ticket, which I can assure you definitely wasn’t because it was obviously through me.
“So then obviously the French police decided to throw tear gas on fans and families. It’s not been well-organised.”
Liverpool supporter Colm Lacey said he saw “children crying, people trapped” outside the entrances.
“People started jumping the queue, then they ripped the gate open and then there was a push,” Lacey said.
The scenes were reminiscent of the chaos outside Wembley Stadium before the European Championship final last year. That was largely caused by England fans aggressively trying to get into their home stadium for the game that Italy won.
AdvertisementAbout 15 minutes before the scheduled kickoff at 9pm local time (07:00 GMT) an announcement was made that there would be a delay, blaming the late arrival of fans to the stadium. [Petr David Josek/AP Photo]
Liverpool fans light flares prior to the start of the Champions League final. [Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo]