UEFA will refund all Liverpool ticket holders after a report recently found that a series of organizational failures led to the chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France for the Champions League final last May.
European soccer’s governing body today (March 7) announced a refund scheme after the review outlined that the failings of the organizers “almost led to a disaster” as fans struggled to gain access to the venue for the match against Spain’s Real Madrid.
UEFA said refunds will be available to all fans “in areas where the most difficult circumstances were reported” outside the 80,000-seat national stadium in Paris.
In addition, all fans who did not enter the stadium before the scheduled 9PM (CEST) kick-off time, or who were not able to enter the stadium at all, will be eligible for a refund.
As a result, the special refund scheme will cover the entirety of Liverpool’s ticket allocation for the final, which amounted to 19,618 tickets.
Fans who purchased tickets directly from the English Premier League club will be refunded by the team. UEFA will reimburse the total value of the tickets and the club will then process the refunds to its supporters.
Last season’s Champions League final, which Real Madrid won 1-0, was largely overshadowed by the catastrophic scenes outside the Stade de France.
At the intended kick-off time, 97% of Madrid fans were said to have been inside the stadium compared to only 50% of Liverpool fans. The match eventually kicked off after 9:30PM.
UEFA initially explained that fans had arrived late to the stadium, while the French government claimed that “massive fraud at an industrial level” caused the chaos.
The local authorities argued that a high number of fake tickets had led to delays in supporters accessing the stadium and the heavy-handed policing that followed.
There was widespread criticism of an inadequate route to the stadium for Liverpool fans, with 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 upon leaving the stadium.
The independent review into the issues, commissioned by UEFA, was released last month (February) and concluded that the continental body bears “primary responsibility” for the safety failures.
The report also strongly rejected claims made persistently by the governing body and the French police and government ministers that thousands of Liverpool fans without valid tickets caused the problems.
It stated that there is no evidence to support such claims, which were made in a “reprehensible” attempt by the authorities to avoid responsibility.
The report also says the police and the French Football Federation (FFF) "bear responsibility" because of their roles in ensuring public safety and pointed to the lack of a venue risk assessment by French authorities.
The match had originally been planned to take place in St Petersburg, Russia, but was moved to the Stade de France after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
UEFA issued an apology after the findings of the report and outlined plans for a refund scheme.
Refunds will also be processed for Real Madrid fans who were affected, while the same applies to neutral supporters who purchased tickets directly from UEFA and who are eligible.
Theodore Theodoridis, UEFA general secretary, said: “We have taken into account a huge number of views expressed both publicly and privately and we believe we have devised a scheme that is comprehensive and fair.
“We value the input from the Liverpool FC supporter organizations Spirit of Shankly (SoS) and Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association (LDSA) as well as the open and transparent dialogue throughout this period.
“We recognize the negative experiences of those supporters on the day, and with this scheme we will refund fans who had bought tickets and who were the most affected by the difficulties in accessing the stadium.”
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