Report into Champions League chaos vindicates Reds fans – mayor Steve Rotheram
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, believes the publication of the independent report into the chaos at last season’s Champions League final vindicates fans.
UEFA commissioned a team led by Portuguese Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues to look into issues of dangerous congestion, supporters being attacked by locals and tear-gassed by police and the all-round operation at the Stade de France in May.
The now-published report lays the blame at the feet of UEFA and the French authorities.
“UEFA’s report vindicates what I and other fans have been saying all along: that is, it was the fans who averted a disaster and were clearly not to blame, whilst the organisers – UEFA and the French authorities – were really responsible,” Rotheram said.
“Fans who travelled to Paris expecting the night of their lives were put in harm’s way by the very people who are meant to protect them.
“They deserve a full and unreserved apology from authorities including UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
“It has been suggested that those failings ‘almost led to a disaster’, which was narrowly avoided by the actions of fans.
UEFA’s report vindicates what I and other fans have been saying all along: that is, it was the fans who averted a disaster and were clearly not to blame
“Lessons must be learned to ensure the safety of the venues chosen to host sporting spectacles.
“In addition, the organisation before, during and after the game – and the heavy-handed treatment of fans – was predicated on flawed intelligence and the inaccurate preconceptions and prejudices of the authorities.
“Perhaps the safety of fans will be a primary concern now, instead of financially driven decisions by football’s governing bodies.”
Thousands of Liverpool fans, a number of whom were survivors or relatives of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 97 people were killed, were adversely affected by events on the night.
Following events in Paris more than 600 are being represented by law firm Leigh Day.
“Indications suggest that its conclusion echoes what Leigh Day have said all along, fans were seriously let down by UEFA,” said a joint-statement from partners Clare Campbell and Jill Paterson.
“Once we have seen, and had time to fully digest the report, we will advise our clients on our next steps.
“At this stage, we still strongly believe that UEFA need to compensate Liverpool fans for their experience on the day and the losses, suffering and injuries they have experienced and continue to deal with.”
UEFA expressed its commitment to implement key recommendations from the report and confirmed a special refund scheme for fans will be set up.
Theodore Theodoridis, UEFA’s general secretary, said: “We are grateful to Dr Brandao Rodrigues and the panel for this piece of work.
“On behalf of UEFA, I would like to apologise most sincerely once again to all those who were affected by the events that unfolded on what should have been a celebration at the pinnacle of the club season.
“In particular, I would like to apologise to the supporters of Liverpool FC for the experiences many of them had when attending the game and for the messages released prior to and during the game which had the effect of unjustly blaming them for the situation leading to the delayed kick-off.
“UEFA is committed to learning from the events of 28 May, and will cooperate closely with supporters’ groups, the finalist clubs, the host associations and local authorities in order to deliver outstanding finals where everyone can enjoy the game in a safe, secure and welcoming environment.”
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