European soccer’s governing body UEFA has commissioned an independent report into the events surrounding Saturday’s (May 28) Champions League final between England’s Liverpool and Spain’s Real Madrid in Paris, where kick-off was delayed due to issues in supporters accessing the ground, with some teargassed by French police.
UEFA says the report, which will be led by Portugal’s Dr. Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, will “examine decision making, responsibility, and behaviors of all entities involved in the final”, with evidence to be gathered from all relevant parties.
Rodrigues is a member of the Portuguese parliament and the president of the country’s Parliamentary Committee of Environment and Energy.
The findings of the report will be made public once it has been completed and UEFA says it will then evaluate what next steps to take.
At a press conference yesterday (May 30), the French government claimed that “massive fraud at an industrial level” led to the chaotic scenes at the country’s Stade de France national stadium, where the match was held despite significant evidence to the contrary and, as yet, little made public in support.
There has also been widespread criticism of an inadequate route to the stadium for Liverpool fans, supporters being held outside the stadium for hours with gates repeatedly closed, tear gas being used by French police on peaceful fans, ticketless locals attempting to gain entry to the stadium, and fans being attacked by gangs upon leaving the stadium.
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Following yesterday’s press conference, Liverpool chairman Tom Werner published an open letter to the French government criticizing claims made at it by French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Costera.
Werner wrote: “The events that occurred in and around the Stade de France on Saturday night at the UEFA Champions League Final were not only incredibly dangerous for all who attended but raised serious questions about the organization and operation of the event. This should be the focus of all interested parties today rather than pursuing a blame game strategy via press conference …
“How can loose data and unverified assertions presented this morning be anywhere near factual without a truly independent and transparent investigation with the right stakeholders including our supporters, our club, and others taking place? Worse still, these assertions undermine the pursuit of truth and transparency which should underpin the motivations of any organization or individual with a desire to ensure such unacceptable scenes are never repeated.
“The fact that your public position went against this objective is a concern in itself. That you did so without any recourse to ourselves or our supporters is an even greater one. All voices should count in this process, and they should count equally and fairly.”
A spokesperson for British prime minister Boris Johnson said: “The footage from the Stade de France this weekend was deeply upsetting and concerning. We know many Liverpool fans traveled to Paris in good time … and we're hugely disappointed by how they were treated.
“We are urging UEFA to work closely with the French authorities on a full investigation and to publish those findings.”