Nearly 20K Liverpool fans will be refunded after being trapped outside 2022 Champions League final
Nearly 20,000 Liverpool fans will be refunded for tickets purchased for the 2022 Champions League final after they were stuck outside the Stade de France in Paris, France, and subsequently hit with pepper spray and tear gas, UEFA announced Tuesday. The chaotic scene delayed the start of the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid by 37 minutes while fans were trapped and barred from entry.
“We have taken into account a huge number of views expressed both publicly and privately and we believe we have devised a scheme that is comprehensive and fair," UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis said. "... We recognise the negative experiences of those supporters on the day and with this scheme we will refund fans who had bought tickets and who were the most affected by the difficulties in accessing the stadium.”
In total, UEFA will refund all 19,618 tickets bought by Liverpool supporters. Fans of Real Madrid, who ended up winning the match, and neutral fans who meet certain criteria will also be refunded, UEFA said. The statement also asked fans who were robbed while leaving the Stade de France after the game to report their cases to French authorities.
UEFA, the governing body for European soccer, initially blamed "thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets" and those that arrived late, but later apologized "to all spectators who had to experience or witness frightening and distressing events." An investigation was launched into what transpired and the UEFA-appointed panel determined UEFA "bears primary responsibility for failures which almost led to disaster." Others reported French police funneled the Liverpool fans into one turnstile, creating a logjam of people and stadium security.
“It is remarkable that no one lost their life,” the report said. “... UEFA’s lack of oversight upon delegation of private safety and security matters, deference of all such matters in the public space to policing authorities, and simply not following its own safety, security and service requirements, was a recipe for the failures which occurred."
This could be a watershed moment as the 2024 Summer Olympics approach in Paris. The Stade de France is the largest stadium in the country and can seat 75,000 spectators. Most of the track and field events will take place at the Stade. It won't be the site of the Opening Ceremony, though — that will take place outside along the Seine River.
But the events of the 2022 Champions League final should be a learning point for event organizers almost 16 months before the start of the Games.