UEFA Issues Apology to Fans; Will Review Events Around Champions League Final

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 3, 2022

The display announces delay of the Champions League final soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint Denis near Paris, Saturday, May 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
AP Photo/Petr David Josek

UEFA released a statement Friday apologizing to fans for the chaotic scenes prior to last weekend's UEFA Champions League final in Paris.

As part of the statement, UEFA noted that it is launching an independent investigation to determine what led to the inability to get fans into Stade de France in a timely and orderly fashion:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

UEFA issues new statement on the Champions League final, apologising not blaming fans, saying what the review will look into &amp; acknowledging failings: “No football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again.” <a href="https://t.co/5zAlpz1m5o">pic.twitter.com/5zAlpz1m5o</a>

Due to lengthy delays in getting fans into the stadium, the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool had its start time pushed back by more than a half hour.

UEFA initially relayed a message inside the stadium stating that the delay was due to "late arrival of fans" before changing the wording to a "security issue."

An already tense situation outside the stadium escalated when police used pepper spray to subdue some of the fans attempting to get inside the venue:

Football Tweet ⚽ @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>

In a statement after the match, UEFA blamed the congestion on fans purchasing fake tickets that wouldn't scan at the gate:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

UEFA statement blame those with fake tickets for Paris chaos (doesn't say where they are from)<br><br>"Turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles. This created a build-up of fans trying to get in" <a href="https://t.co/O3XIMHyjPF">pic.twitter.com/O3XIMHyjPF</a>

Per Melissa Reddy of Sky Sports, Liverpool subsequently requested a "formal investigation" to determine why fans were unable to get inside the stadium in a timely fashion.

The 2022 UEFA Champions League final was a tightly contested affair between two of the most storied clubs in the history of soccer.

Ultimately, Real Madrid prevailed 1-0 on a 59th-minute goal by Vinicius Junior. Los Blancos also got a clean sheet out of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was named man of the match.

The win marked Real Madrid's 14th Champions League or European Cup title, which is an all-time record.