News   |    May 30th, 2022

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHAOS

In the second leg of the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester City and with full time approaching in a match dominated by City, Madrid scored two goals in as many minutes to take the tie to extra time. At that point it looked as though the fates had decided Madrid would go on and win the competition and that proved to be the case. To be fair any team that defeats PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool deserves to be champions and Carlo Ancelotti deserves great credit for guiding the team to a La Liga and Champions League double.

UEFA should be able to run a Champions League final like clockwork and therefore the chaos that engulfed Liverpool fans before and after the match reflects very badly on them and the french authorities. There needs to be a full and independent inquiry so that lessons can be learned for future events. I do not buy the suggestion that the switch of venue from St Petersburg because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine left the French authorities with too little time to prepare for the match.

Kick off was initially delayed by fifteen minutes which was then increased to thirty minutes. The BT Sport panel of pundits then starting to get news that police had been using tear gas on Liverpool fans including children. UEFA has since said many of the fans had fake tickets but stories from some of the players families cast doubt on that. Amongst those trying to flee from police were Marvin Matip (brother of Joel) and his pregnant wife and friends of Andy Robertson who were told their tickets were fake when they were clearly not.

Too many Liverpool fans have spoken about the organisational chaos outside the stadium for it not to be true. Contrary to UEFA statements fans say the majority of fans were there long before kick off but the queues never went down. You could see from TV pictures that at the scheduled kick off time the Liverpool end of the ground was half empty. Contrary to the police presence pre-match Liverpool fans reported that post match organised gangs were everywhere mugging fans as they left the ground. Victims included former players and their families.

Let’s have no more bland uninformed comments from UEFA and let’s get an independent inquiry set up quickly whilst everything is fresh in peoples minds and make sure that any lessons that need to be learned are documented and used for the benefit of fans at future finals.

Image – Reuters

Gary Pettit - Founder, Integral Sports Management.

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