Lines to enter the Stade de France were long on Saturday, and there were complaints of robbery, pickpocketing, and the use of tear gas by police on fans. The Champions League final itself went off without a hitch, however.
Liverpool has demanded an official probe into the events, alleging “terrible conditions” for fans, while UEFA has blamed “thousands of people with false tickets” for causing the delays.
Both Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne have called for inquiries after attending the event.
Read these chilling testimonies from Sky Sports News reporters and Liverpool fans in attendance before Real Madrid’s victory against Liverpool…
“I’ve Never Thought my Life was in Danger at a Match Before, But that one Really Shook me up.”
Totally terrible evening. People were being crushed at the turnstiles, and it looked terrifying. A group of young French people stormed the gates, leading the cops to panic. For the first time in my life, I actually feared for my safety during a match.
“I got Tear Gassed and Nearly Robbed.”
I’m still feeling a little shaken up from it all. We were tear-gassed, and I had my wallet and watch stolen from me on the way out. If I hadn’t struck them off my arm and trapped their hand in a metro gate, I wouldn’t have gotten away. Not only were Liverpool fans, but also Real Madrid fans, being robbed.
“I’d Never Take Another Vacation in France.”
The wife and I arrived 1.5 hours before the game started, which is rather early. We waited in line for close to two hours, during which time we were subjected to tear gas and crowding.
That was a terrifying ordeal. A trip to France is not something I would ever consider doing again.
That’s Right, “We were Robbed Twice.”
We were able to enter the stadium without a hitch before the game. My teammate and I were robbed twice while crossing the canal bridge after the game.
All of my valuables, including my phone, bank cards, and ID, have vanished. The entire thing was terrible. This is our first and, likely, last visit to Paris.
I’ve been Travelling to Europe for 25 Years, and this is the First Time I’ve ever Seen Anything Like it.
“Mobs with a plan stole our wristwatches! On our way to the Stade de France Metro station, they systematically murdered the elderly.
I’ve been travelling to Europe for the past 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.
The Cops Sprayed Tear gas Indiscriminately Because “Local French Boys were Scaling Fences.”
Poor preparation, Disorganised execution, and overzealous law enforcement all contributed to the chaos. According to [UEFA], the delay was caused by tardy Liverpool fans. And I seriously doubt that to be the case.
There were a lot of Liverpool fans outside the stadium for at least three or four hours before kickoff. From what I could tell, there was absolutely no possibility that anyone could claim that Liverpool fans were late to that game.
The second warning relayed by UEFA was that thousands of Liverpool fans tried to enter the stadium using counterfeit tickets, which caused the security checks to fail. This contradicts my personal observation.
There were probably some people trying to get in with false tickets, but I didn’t see thousands of them trying to do so.
I don’t think Liverpool or Madrid fans were the issue [the French police] faced last night; rather, I think it was local French kids wanting to sneak inside the stadium.
It stood out in a major way. Hundreds of young French men gathered outside the stadium and engaged in running skirmishes with riot police. No Real Madrid or Liverpool fans that I saw were involved in the fracas.
There were reports of fans scaling fences in an attempt to enter the stadium. People I witnessed doing that were not Liverpool fans.
Those weren’t Liverpool fans I saw acting that way. According to my observations, the Liverpool fans that showed up early were well-behaved and did not cause any problems.
I witnessed law enforcement officers preventing them from reaching the ground. The ramp that 20,000 Liverpool fans had to use was clearly not designed for that purpose. It was already too small, and the cops had the audacity to place three or four police vans across the road, making it even narrower.
After waiting in line for two hours or so to squeeze through the narrow entrance and into the stadium concourse, Liverpool fans stood around doing nothing because the gates they were supposed to use to enter the stadium were constantly opening and closing, further slowing down the process.
French riot police used tear gas and pepper spray indiscriminately because “local French boys were trying to jump the fencing to get in the stadium.”
This engrossed us, and we couldn’t help but participate. Unfortunately, our timing was off and we ended up in the wrong place. Really, that wasn’t a pleasant encounter.
Fans were Pleading with the Authorities for Assistance. Tear Gas was Used by the Police on the Crowd.
The turnstiles had just opened and the atmosphere was electric while I was reporting on the growing number of fans making their way inside the stadium. They were singing songs and snapping selfies, and fans of Real Madrid and Liverpool were among them. scenes of merriment appropriate for a European Cup final.
I went into the media area, but friends who are Liverpool fans started texting me to say, “it’s quite hazardous outside.” A cameraman from our team went out and shot a lot of material. The crowd control and organisation were appalling.
Pickpocketing fans, stealing tickets, and aggressively photographing QR codes were all happening because there were no pre-ticket inspections.
They told me there were problems with residents trying to enter the stadium, and I confirmed this with the police.
Yet, our videographer caught regular fans—kids, ladies, and even an elderly man—beseeching the cops for assistance since they were among the local guys who were being hostile and pushy. Fans were met with tear gas by the police.
You could tell the Liverpool faithful inside the stadium were distracted with events outside; the stadium was dead silent and devoid of any festive spirit.
Several members of the club’s personnel that I know had tickets that they had obtained from Liverpool but were unable to use. Andy Robertson’s pal was turned away at the door despite having a personal invitation from the player himself.
“Rather than changing course to alleviate the mounting strain and anarchy, the response to the faulty approach was combative.”
“Complete Disarray and Inept Administration. A Response is Owed to the Fans.
Just over an hour before the game was scheduled to begin, we arrived at the stadium, and the place was in complete and total disarray.
“Security barricades were placed at the top of the stairway that would have taken us to the outer concourse and around the TV facility. Frustrated spectators clogged the stairwell, asking staff members for directions to the turnstiles but receiving none. The scenario was quite dangerous due to the crowding on the stairs.
While the spectators on the roadside were experiencing the full affects of breathing in the fumes, we were only experiencing the stinging of the nose and watering of the eyes as we moved around to locate a route into the outside concourse.
“Now, as we approached another set of security barriers, a bottleneck had formed, with spectators being herded into a tight space for ticket checks to be made. Having that many people looming over your shoulder is never a pleasant feeling, especially when the whole thing was completely avoidable. There was no reason to construct such a bottleneck in what was a broad thoroughfare.
“Thinking everything would get better once passed the barricades, we saw locals climbing over the barriers and running away from police and stadium security, along with commotion at the turnstiles with spectators locked in tight conditions with admittance either being rejected or the gates just shut.
It turned out that one of the ticket holders who was turned away because it was suspected of being a fake was actually a member of Andy Robertson’s group. Since Liverpool was involved in the distribution of the ticket, authenticity can be assumed.
My friend and his son, who was in high school at the time, were stranded outside for over two hours, frustrated that they almost missed the game for which they had waited so long in the line.
In the media room, I witnessed former players worrying about their families who were trapped outside due to the chaos at the turnstiles and the police’s heavy-handed actions.
At least one active police officer has contacted me to express gratitude that no one was killed or critically injured.
“I never witnessed any unruly behaviour from spectators. There was frustration with the treatment they were receiving, but it did not escalate into violence.
“Instead, the police used tear gas to disperse a crowd, a situation that was entirely self-inflicted.
The troubles at the Stade de France were largely due to poor planning, and now the fans know how terrifying that can be. This is not what UEFA’s flagship tournament should be about, therefore organisers need to give them an explanation and take corrective measures.