An independent review of events surrounding the 2022 Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid has found that UEFA “should bear primary responsibility for mistakes that nearly resulted in disaster”.
May’s flagship game against Real Madrid, which the LaLiga side won 1-0, was marred by problems ahead of the final at the Stade de France in Paris.
UEFA hired Dr. Tiago Brandao Rodrigues with giving an overview of the events that saw Liverpool fans being held up for over two hours trying to step onto the ground and tear gassed by police.
A copy of the 220-page document, which was compiled based on interviews and testimonies from witnesses and key stakeholders, was released Monday after the results were leaked.
It was originally supposed to be released on Tuesday.
A final section of the findings reads: “The panel has concluded that UEFA, as the owner of the event, bears primary responsibility for errors that nearly led to disaster.
“While it was reasonable to delegate various security matters to others – mainly FFF – and to rely on the constitutional position of the Préfecture de Police in relation to policing duties, it does not follow that this absolves UEFA of its responsibilities.
“UEFA was central to the organization of the event and they should have monitored, overseen and supported security measures to ensure they are fit for purpose and to identify and rectify problems in real time before they occur.”
The report also said many of the fans at the Stade de France were also present during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
The statement adds: “Many Liverpool fans in that crowd were survivors of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 97 football fans died, others were at risk – including disabled fans, the elderly and children. The parallels between Hillsborough 1989 and Paris 2022 are palpable.
“Similarities include the fact that both events were preventable and both were caused by the failure of those responsible for public safety. Neither was a “black swan” event nor the result of a “perfect storm”1. Both events were predictable. According to the panel, the different results were accidental: one killed almost a hundred, the other none, but to no credit to those responsible.”
Liverpool expressed disappointment that the results were leaked before they were officially released on UEFA’s website.
“It is very disappointing that a report of such importance, of such importance to football fans’ lives and future safety, is leaked and released in this way,” the club said in a statement.
“The independent panel has been working on this for over eight months and it is only right and proper to release the content of the report appropriately for our supporters.
“We will wait to receive a copy of the report and will digest it thoroughly before commenting further.”
UEFA has said it will analyze the results and compare them to their own internal analysis.
They hope the process will improve fan safety at future finals.
Liverpool show disappointment over ratings leaks
(Photo: Getty Images)