PHOTONEWS: Horror at the Champions League Final: Furious Liverpool demand a formal investigation as UEFA blame chaos on ‘thousands of ticketless fans’

 PHOTONEWS: Horror at the Champions League Final: Furious Liverpool demand a formal investigation as UEFA blame chaos on ‘thousands of ticketless fans’

Liverpool have demanded an inquiry after the club’s supporters, including pregnant women and young children, were targeted with teargas by French police as chaos reigned supreme at Paris’ delayed Champions League final. As the match’s 8pm kickoff approached, reports suggested ‘hundreds of fans’ without tickets attempted to storm the Stade de France ahead of the match, which saw kickoff postponed by 30 minutes amid the disarray.

French police were forced to create a narrow human funnel, prompting crush concerns, as they separated fans trying to enter the venue in concerning scenes harkening to the UEFA Euro 2020 chaos at Wembley stadium.

UEFA has since released a statement that suggested thousands of Liverpool fans had been caught out and tried using ‘fake tickets’ that didn’t work at the turnstiles. The governing body later called for an inquiry from French officials into the use of teargas on fans at the Stade de France.

Meanwhile, a club statement from Liverpool FC after the match read: ‘We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced this evening at Stade de France.

‘This is the greatest match in European football and supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight. We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.’

Elsewhere French riot police were also accused of attacking Liverpool supporters watching their side lose the final from a dedicated fan zone in the Place de la Nation, Paris. Scores of heavily armed officers were filmed hitting those who had gathered there, with a chilling video showing women among the victims of the police violence, which seemed to be unprovoked.

‘The police came at the fans with batons and shields,’ said an onlooker who witnessed the trouble, which came during the first half.

‘Officers had been standing by with water cannon and other crowd control devices all day, and their numbers increased as the day went on.

‘They seemed to be unhappy with the amount of drinking that went on, and so decided to move in. It seemed to be unprovoked.’

A police source said the officers were responding to ‘crown trouble’ among the thousands of Liverpool fans around Place de la Nation.

Footage posted online also appeared to show fans climbing over fences at the Stade de France and rushing up steps leading to seating areas with no attempt to stop them. 

Twenty-five minutes before the scheduled kick off Paris police put out a tweet urging fans not to ‘rush the gates’ as they approached the ground. But by then there were already reports of tear gas and pepper spray being used on fans who had been queuing more than two hours to get in. 

Journalists caught up in the chaos allege they were ‘forced to delete’ incriminating footage of the heavy-handed security response before UEFA officials intervened to calm the situation.

Gary Lineker led the condemnation as he offered a scathing assessment of the security situation at the Stade de France ahead of the delayed UEFA Champions League final. 

Speaking to AP while queuing, a fan said: ‘It’s absolutely horrendous. There’s a bottleneck down there and there’s literally a six-foot gap for maybe 20,000 Liverpool fans to get in.

‘We are absolutely being pushed from pillar to post. I have an 82-year-old father in law here. It’s just madness. I’m really sorry but there are just thousands behind us.’ 

BBC Journalist Nick Parrott, who had attended Saturday’s match and was part of a group of fans who were pepper-sprayed, told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I was outside Gate Y which has been opening and closing repeatedly over the last hour and a half but nobody has been going through. The security staff on the other side advanced and sprayed pepper spray.

‘I have seen 10 fans trying to climb over fences. Gate Z is open but there does not seem to be any movement going in. I have never seen this sort of chaos at any match I have been to in a personal capacity.’

Marvin Matip, the brother of Liverpool defender Joel, told Sky Sport Germany: ‘The organisation around and in the stadium is unworthy of a Champions League final. Using tear gas in areas with children and uninvolved fans is dangerous!’

Reporter Florian Plettenberg said that Marvin Matip, his wife, who is pregnant, and family were forced to flee the ground and and hide in a restaurant from tear gas. One video shared widely across social media showed a young Liverpool fan coughing and spluttering after being pepper-sprayed by police.

Kickoff was pushed back to 9.30pm local time (8.30GMT) as a result, with eyewitnesses adding that fans were being held in ‘long and slow moving’ hour-long queues outside the stadium as the final fast approached.

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