Liverpool v Real Madrid Champions League final: what happened to fans outside French stadium - what UEFA said

The match between Liverpool and Real Madrid had to be delayed for more than 30 minutes due to the issues taking place outside the stadium grounds

Representatives from local authorities, police and Champions League final organisers are to meet in the French capital to review events outside the Stade de France during which Liverpool fans queueing for admission were tear-gassed.

Liverpool FC has called for an investigation after football fans were tear gassed outside the stadium before the Champions League final on Saturday night.

The football club said that fans faced “unacceptable issues” which led to the match against Real Madrid being delayed by more than 30 minutes, with Liverpool defender Andy Robertson calling the organisation of the game a “shambles”.

This is what you need to know.

What happened?

After St Petersburg was stripped of the final in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, France’s national stadium stepped in to host the Champions Leaguefinal between Liverpool and Real Madrid. 

However, chaotic scenes outside the grounds in the hours before the match led to the kick off being delayed for more than 30 minutes as fans struggled to gain access to the stadium.

Riot police were in attendance before the game with tear gas being used, while supporters were seen up against the fence shouting at people to sort the situation out and let them in.

Liverpool fans stuck outside the ground show their match tickets during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Stade de France, Paris (Photo: PA/Adam Davy)

Organisational chaos led to hundreds of fans missing the kick-off as, with huge queues building outside, French police locked one of the main gates at the Liverpool end and then pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed supporters, including children and the disabled, pressed up against the fence with nowhere to go.

UEFA initially said the delay was due to the “late arrival of fans” but Liverpool furiously denied those claims, describing them as “totally inaccurate”.

With long queues still forming outside and large patches of empty seats visible inside the ground, the stadium announcer confirmed at 8.46pm local time – 14 minutes before kick-off – that the fixture had been delayed until 9.15pm.

Liverpool’s supporters cheer for their team next to empty seats as they wait for the start of the UEFA Champions League final (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Two further delays meant the showpiece finally got under way locally at 9.36pm, allowing singer Camila Cabello to perform her set as part of the opening ceremony at a ground where a number of fans still had not made their way in.

Some ticketless supporters were also seen scaling the perimeter fence or attempting to dart past security.

Kelly Cates – the daughter of Liverpool great Sir Kenny Dalglish – posted pre-match on Twitter: “Absolutely shambolic at the Stade de France.

“No way in, no way of knowing which way to go. Stay safe if you’re heading in. It has the potential to be very dangerous.”

What has Liverpool FC said?

A club spokesperson said: “We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced this evening at the Stade de France.

“This is the greatest match in European football and supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight.

“We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”

Police spray tear gas at Liverpool fans outside the stadium as they queue prior to the UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, France (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

In a statement posted to its official website, Liverpool FC said: “We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced this evening at Stade de France.

“This is the greatest match in European football and supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight.

“We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”

What has UEFA said?

On Saturday (28 May), UEFA also issued its own statement regarding what happened during the Liverpool v Real Madrid Champions League final.

It said: “In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles.

Police and stewards are seen outside the stadium as Liverpool fans queue outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League final (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

“This created a build-up of fans trying to get in. As a result, the kick off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access.

“As numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kick off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.

“UEFA is sympathetic to those affected by these events and will further review these matters urgently together with the French police and authorities, and with the French Football Federation.”

What are people who were there saying?

Many Liverpool supporters who were at the game have shared their stories and experiences with what happened.

Kelly Simmons, the women’s professional game director at the Football Association, was caught up in the chaos.

“Crushed on the way in, unable to move for 90 mins. Face wedged against someone in front. Absolutely terrifying. Tear gassed on the way out as we were near a v minor skirmish. A night from hell #paris” she tweeted late on Saturday night.

She added in a further tweet on Sunday: “My legs were like jelly and had to keep sitting down in the game. All I could think was we have to get out at the end. All the fans near me in that crush behaved impeccably calling for calm/no panic. It was just sheer volume and nowhere to go as no gates open.”

Speaking after the game, supporter Robbie, 24, said: “I got pepper-sprayed, the first time that’s ever happened to me.

“It was unprovoked, people were just standing there waving at the police to let us in, we had tickets.

“Police were just spraying us for no reason, even kids and older people, it was bad.”

He said fans had not been acting inappropriately at the time.

Liverpool fans stand outside unable to get in in time leading to the match being delayed (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

Some Liverpool fans could be seen arguing with Real Madrid supporters and locals outside the stadium after the match.

Footage on social media appeared to show people climbing over barriers as crowds built up, and the kick-off was delayed by more than 30 minutes.

Police carrying shields and riot gear had moved into the area shortly after 8pm.

Supporters showed what appeared to be tickets to officers after a gate was closed, denying them entry.

Bottles were thrown at the officers who responded with tear gas, leaving some fans holding their eyes.

Supporters still waiting to get in were visibly frustrated.

Liverpool fans were unable to enter the Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, France (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

One fan, Carl Noades, 63, told the PA news agency: “There only seems to be one gate open, it’s ridiculous, the game’s kicked off and we’re stuck outside.

“It’s a disgrace, the way they’re treating us is shocking, there’s no organisation.”

Tensions outside the stadium were then driven by young Parisians.

Liverpool supporters said hundreds of locals were taunting riot police, causing gates to be shut.

One fan said: “This will be pinned on us, but it’s nothing to do with us.

“There’s hundreds here causing trouble, they’re not even for the game – it’s chaos.”

Supporters were arguing with ticket officials on the other side of the fence, and beyond the gates some people, a few wearing Liverpool shirts, were taken away.

The match between Liverpool and Real Madrid had to be delayed due to the chaos (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

Other fans flocked to a nearby pub to watch the game.

Nick Smith, 42, told PA: “I had a ticket, paid through the nose, especially at the minute when everyone’s struggling.

“But complete lack of organisation means I’m at a pub and not where I should be.”

Liverpool fans with tickets were later let into the stadium hours after queuing up and well after the match began.

Officers used tear gas, batons and shields to force young locals away from the area outside.

Scores of supporters with legitimate tickets were then allowed to enter.

One fan told PA: “I’ve queued up for four hours, my wife and I have tickets. Appalling.

“I’m devastated, Liverpool fans should not get the blame for this.”

What happens next?

Following the events of Saturday, representatives from local authorities, police and Champions League final organisers are to meet in Paris today (Monday 30 May) to review what happened.

The move comes amid concerted calls for an investigation from British MPs amid condemnation of the way the Premier League club’s supporters were treated.

Ian Byrne, the Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, attended the match in Paris and said he had never witnessed such scenes since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. He has written to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss with a list of seven demands, including a formal probe and apologies, aimed at UEFA and the French authorities.

Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby Ian Byrne (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

In his letter, he said: “The French authorities and UEFA are quite simply covering their own backs with this narrative.

“As a Liverpool fan, I was in Paris for the match and I can honestly say that the situation outside the ground was one of the most horrendous experiences of my life – and as a Hillsborough survivor, I do not make this comment lightly.”

Merseyside Police observers described the behaviour of the vast majority of supporters as “exemplary”, while their counterparts from the Paris prefecture said some had “employed strong force” in a bid to get into the stadium.

Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan told LFCTV the treatment of fans was “absolutely unacceptable” and that “people’s safety was put at risk”.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries leaves 10 Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on March 15, 2022 in London, England (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “I urge UEFA to launch a formal investigation into what went wrong and why, in co-ordination with stadium staff, the French police, the French football federation, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Football Club.

“It is in the interests of everyone involved to understand what happened and to learn lessons from these events.”

It is understood the UK ambassador to Paris has contacted the French Ministry of Interior directly urging an investigation.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “Our consular staff are supporting individuals who have been affected by the events in Paris, and are in touch with local authorities.”