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Liverpool vs. Real Madrid UCL Final Delayed Due to Fan Issues Entering Stadium

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 28, 2022

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 28: The LED screen shows the message of a delayed kick off time prior to the UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

UEFA announced that the start of Saturday's men's UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris would be delayed by 30 minutes.

European football's governing body initially attributed the delay to fans arriving late, first delaying the game by 15 minutes and then again:

B/R Football @brfootball

The Champions League final has been delayed by 15 minutes due to late fan arrivals at the stadium <a href="https://t.co/9JAw5KhPsR">pic.twitter.com/9JAw5KhPsR</a>

However, Miguel Delaney of the Independent and several others reported many fans actually arrived hours before the match but had trouble getting into the venue.

While the match had been set to begin at 3 p.m. ET, Andy Kelly of the Liverpool Echo reported on the chaotic scene outside one of the gates of the Stade de France:

Andy Kelly @AndyK_LivNews

Fans queuing outside with tickets for a gate thatโ€™s been shut for no reason just been tear gassed. Throughly unpleasant experience and so dangerous. This isnโ€™t how fans should be treated in a civilised society. Unacceptable

Kristian Walsh of Reach PLC called the situation "dangerous" and "ineptitude of the highest level," scolding both UEFA and French authorities for the handling of fan entry.

Sky Sports News tweeted video of Liverpool fans struggling to make their way into the stadium:

Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews

Thousands of Liverpool fans struggle to make it into the Stade de France for the Champions League final. <a href="https://t.co/dcic3dbn7L">pic.twitter.com/dcic3dbn7L</a>

ESPN FC subsequently posted video of a fan jumping a fence to get into the stadium rather than waiting in the long lines:

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Fans appeared to climb into the Champions League final and avoid security.<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/dec11mcc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dec11mcc</a>) <a href="https://t.co/5iuFcF1CQN">pic.twitter.com/5iuFcF1CQN</a>

Additional videos showed fans experiencing the effects of pepper spray from police, including a child:

Football Tweet โšฝ๎จ€ @Football__Tweet

Pepper spraying children. Defend that.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UCL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UCL</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UCLfinal?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UCLfinal</a><br> <a href="https://t.co/qmiCLACvy5">pic.twitter.com/qmiCLACvy5</a>

Mark Ogden @MarkOgden_

Pepper spraying fans outside stadium in Paris <a href="https://t.co/drgzEpR9gD">pic.twitter.com/drgzEpR9gD</a>

When Saturday's match kicks off, it will be a clash between two of the most famous and successful clubs in the history of soccer.

Real Madrid own the most UEFA Champions League titles of all time with 13, including three in a row from 2016 to 2018.

Liverpool won a UCL title more recently in 2019, but they lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final one year earlier.

All told, Liverpool have won six Champions League titles, placing them in a tie with Bayern Munich for the third-most ever.

Saturday also marks the first UCL final to be held in France since 2006, when Barcelona defeated Arsenal.