Panel’s Verdict: UEFA’s Organisation of 2022 Champions League Final in Paris Was A Failure

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The investigation into the security mayhem and violent treatment of fans at the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League final confirmed that the organization of the event was “an abject failure.”

A panel of experts was summoned to conduct a review of the organization of the last Champions League final of Real Madrid’s victory over Liverpool by UEFA, following “complete failures on all aspects” of the organization’s “responsibility for stadium safety.”

UEFA Champions League final
Negligence of crowd’s safety

The delivery of the 160-page report takes into consideration 485 testimonies from fans and witnesses, which verified what happened at the UEFA Champions League final at Stade de France before, during, and after Real Madrid and Liverpool’s match.

Some of the major outcomes from the report, which defers from UEFA’s initial review due to be released in November this year, revealed that there was inadequate pre-match preparation by UEFA and the agencies in Paris, and not enough provision was made available for crowd safety.

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The verdict of the panel also alleged that there was aggressive policing, and many fans were reported to have been left “traumatized” by unprovoked assaults from police and local gangs.

UEFA Champions League final
Aggressive policing

In detail, the panel further admitted that pre-match preparation, provision for fans’ safety, and event management were all insufficient while policing treatments were considered aggressive.

The Paris police officers used tear gas on teenagers, women, men, elderly and disabled people while they were trying to enter the stadium before fans “were attacked at knife-point by gangs who stole their possessions” upon leaving the stadium.

Scraton's panel verdict
Spraying of tear gas

The Independent Panel Report that was launched to investigate ‘Fans’ Experiences Before, During and After the 2022 Champions League Final in Paris’, has asked for all the briefings between the Paris Police and the French government to be made public, affirming that UEFA thoroughly failed in trying to meet its responsibilities.

Speaking about the rulings, Professor Phil Scraton, one of the panel chiefs said: “It is difficult to comprehend the sequence of events that constituted the debacle in Paris, leaving so many people physically injured, psychologically harmed, and financially compromised.

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“Having paid inflated prices for travel, accommodation and attendance, men, women and children were subjected to unprovoked, indiscriminate police violence including tear gas and baton assaults, together with robbery at knife-point by local gangs.

“Many left before the match, those who stayed were subjected to further attacks by riot police and gangs on leaving the stadium and arriving at local stations.

“Responsibility for the collapse in authority, management and safety, lies with those organising and administering the event.”

Another panellist, Peter Marshall, a journalist and Broadcaster felt that ‘fans patience’ while there was overcrowding outside the stadium was the reason why the event had not resulted in fatalities.

Meanwhile, Liverpool fans were initially blamed by UEFA for the cause of the unrest, leading to manager Jurgen Klopp and the club’s supporters union vexation.

Marshall said: “only the forbearance of the fans averted a catastrophe.”

“It truly is a miracle no one died,”

“UEFA, who organize these events and supposedly vet stadium safety and security, must explain how they allowed this to happen and why, in the face of the evidence, they persisted in blaming innocent supporters.

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“UEFA officials must face up to their individual and collective responsibility.”

Summary of the panel’s report:

•Inadequate pre-match preparation by UEFA and the Paris agencies.

•Aggressive policing

•Inadequate provision for crowd safety and event management.

•Unprovoked attacks on fans by the police and local gangs.

However, UEFA is yet to speak on the panel’s report. The European ruling body said it would not make any comment until its investigation concludes in November.

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