‘There is not a single person in UEFA who is not terribly sorry’: Aleksander Ceferin issues a grovelling apology to Liverpool fans for last season’s Champions League final nightmare in Paris and admits blaming the chaos on ticketless fans was ‘a mistake’
UEFA president Alexsander Ceferin has apologised for last season’s Champions League final turmoil involving Liverpool fans in Paris.
In his first response to an independent panel’s report, which found UEFA ‘primarily responsible’ for the chaotic scenes, Ceferin has ensured that UEFA will ensure the situation is not repeated in the future.
Liverpool’s kick-off with Real Madrid was delayed by 40 minutes as masses of fans were targeted with teargas by police and forced into bottlenecks on their approach to the stadium.
The independent panel found no evidence to support claims made by UEFA and French authorities that ticketless Liverpool fans were at fault for the ugly scenes that transpired before the final.
In an interview with Gary Neville’s The Overlap YouTube channel, Ceferin said that the French police had not communicated with UEFA and promised the governing body would do what they can to avoid a repeat of Paris.
UEFA president Alexsander Ceferin has issued a groveling apology to Liverpool supporters
There were bottlenecks outside the stadium the stadium in Paris with fans teargassed
He said, as per the Times: ‘I feel sorry for what happened and we will make sure that it doesn’t happen again, that’s the most important thing for me.
‘When I went to the match, I had a meeting with the King of Spain and someone came and said there is a problem with some entrances with the fans. We didn’t know how serious that was back then, because Uefa does not have jurisdiction outside the stadium. The French police did not communicate with us.
‘Trust me, there is not a single person in Uefa who is not terribly sorry, and the main topic of conversation is how to make sure that it does not happen again. Thank God, nothing terrible happened.
‘We have to have better communication with the local authorities because in London [at the Euro 2021 final] again it was not Uefa who should protect outside the stadium, it was local police and, obviously, not very successfully.
‘We are doing everything we can and we will not let it happen again.’
Ceferin also accepted that UEFA’s initial statement blaming ticketless fans was a ‘mistake’ on their side.
He added: ‘It was hard to check what was right and what was wrong, we got some strange information. I really didn’t know the scale of the thing that was happening.’
The independent review said that failings outside the Stade de France ‘almost led to a disaster’ – something which Liverpool fans were hailed for averting.
Liverpool, who were furious that the review was leaked without them having had chance to digest it, were relieved that their supporters had been exonerated of blame and Billy Hogan, their Chief Executive, again praised their behaviour in the face of antagonism for preventing fatalities.
Ceferin has admitted that blaming the chaos on ticketless fans was a mistake by UEFA
UEFA are refunding all Liverpool fans who attended the Champions League final last year
Hogan said Liverpool welcomed the findings of the report and the club issued a strongly worded statement in which they condemned the: ‘shocking false narratives (that) were peddled in the immediate aftermath of that night in Paris; narratives that have since been totally disproven.’
The 220-page report concludes with 21 recommendations for hosting and organising future events and Liverpool have challenged UEFA to make sure they are adhered to going forward; the demand from Anfield is that Europe’s governing body: ‘do the right thing for the safety of supporters.’
UEFA are refunding all Liverpool fans who attended the Champions League final in Paris last year in an unprecedented move that is likely to cost millions and which is a further acknowledgement of how far UEFA got the organisation of the show-piece event wrong.
Many Liverpool fans are already suing UEFA in group actions and hundreds of fans with genuine tickets were refused admission either because of the chaos or because they were accused of having fake tickets because stewards were untrained and the scanning devices were faulty.
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