Liverpool football club on Tuesday urged Uefa to ensure the chaotic scenes at last year’s Champions League final never happen again after an independent report found that it was “remarkable” that nobody died.
Billy Hogan, Liverpool chief executive, said European football’s governing body should implement all the recommendations of the report into the bungled handling of the Champions League final between the club and Real Madrid last May at the Stade de France in Paris.
The report, commissioned by Uefa and produced by an independent panel led by Portuguese politician Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, found that Uefa “bears primary responsibility for failures which almost led to disaster”. It also ascribed responsibility to France’s police and the country’s football federation.
The findings contrast with how Uefa and the French government initially blamed Liverpool fans for the chaos at the Champions League final.
Hogan said Liverpool football club was “really upset” about the “rush to judgment” and in-stadium messages at the final that blamed supporters.
The start of the final was delayed by more than half an hour as the French authorities struggled to manage crowds of fans outside the stadium. Real Madrid ultimately won the game.
In criticism directed at Uefa, the French police and the country’s football federation, the report found the problems at the final were the result of “poor planning, a lack of oversight of plans, poor interoperability between various stakeholders, and a lack of contingencies”.
It added: “The dangerous conditions on the concourse outside the turnstiles were compounded by the police deploying tear gas at disorderly groups of locals, as well as using pepper spray on supporters trying to gain entrance with valid tickets. It is remarkable that no one lost their life.”
The 21 recommendations in the report include the need for medics and first aiders to be visible at all times at Uefa matches, better communication with supporters, digital ticketing, and police commanders observing more games so as to learn best practice.
Uefa said it was reviewing the report’s recommendations “in order to introduce appropriate changes and arrangements to ensure the highest level of safety for fans at future finals”.
Uefa general secretary Theodore Theodoridis apologised to Liverpool supporters for what they experienced at the final 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 said it has plans for a refund scheme for fans who were at the final.
An independent investigation by the French Senate last July did not blame Liverpool fans, but instead pointed to poor transport and security plans, and insufficient numbers of police.
The initial criticism levelled by Uefa and the French authorities against Liverpool fans was particularly sensitive because the club’s supporters were wrongly blamed for the Hillsborough stadium tragedy in 1989.
Last month, police leaders apologised to families of the 97 people who died after attending Liverpool’s FA cup match against Nottingham Forest. An official inquiry identified police blunders.