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Champions League final marred by delays and use of tear gas on fans

Fans climb on the fence in front of the Stade de France prior to the Champions League final soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid, in Saint Denis near Paris, Saturday, May 28, 2022.
Christophe Ena
/
AP
Fans climb on the fence in front of the Stade de France prior to the Champions League final soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid, in Saint Denis near Paris, Saturday, May 28, 2022.

The soccer Champions League final in Paris was marred as Liverpool fans were sprayed with tear gas as they tried to enter the stadium, delaying the start of the match by 35 minutes. Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 to win their record 14th title.

Liverpool player Andy Robertson called the events a "shambles", saying players' friends and family had been affected by the chaotic scenes.

"It was horrendous for our fans and all families that have been through it as well. It wasn't a nice experience, not a nice final to come to. The Champions League should be a celebration but it wasn't that.

"Obviously the final wasn't meant to be here and whether the preparations were not as good as maybe they should have been but I am sure in the coming days an inquest will go into that" he told the BBC.

Organising body UEFA claimed the delay was caused by fans trying to use fake tickets to enter the stadium. "In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles" they said. "This created a buildup of fans trying to get in. As a result, the kickoff was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access."

They went on: "As numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kickoff, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium."

However, Robertson cast doubt on this version of events, saying he had given a friend a real ticket which officials claimed was fake fake. "One of my mates got told it was a fake which I assure you it wasn't," he said.

Others suggested a system failure on the part of organisers, with thousands of fans left outside the stadium before kick off time. The match was moved to Paris' Stade de France from St. Petersburg after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Liverpool Football club issued a statement on the incident. "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" it said.

"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."

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