Liverpool call for investigation into 'unacceptable' stadium issues ahead of Champions League final

Liverpool call for investigation into 'unacceptable' stadium issues ahead of Champions League final

LIVERPOOL have called for an investigation into what the club described as 'unacceptable issues' ahead of Saturday's Champions League final.

The Reds lost 1-0 to Real Madrid in a match that was delayed by more than 30 minutes as fans struggled to get into the stadium.

Footage and images shared online appeared to show fans queuing for hours to gain entry to the Stade de France, while police used tear gas on the crowds.

UEFA initially attributed the delayed kick-off to fans arriving late.

A message shown in the stadium above a sparsely populated Liverpool section said the match would be delayed due to the late arrival of fans (Image: David Ramos/Getty Images)

In a later statement, the organisation claimed that thousands of Liverpool fans had purchased fake tickets that wouldn't work on turnstiles, causing a build-up at the gate.

"As a result, the kick-off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access," added UEFA.

"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."

'Hugely disappointed'

However, the Merseyside club appeared dismissive of UEFA's claims and has called for an investigation.

“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," read a Liverpool statement.

"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."

Liverpool fans outside the ground unable to get inside in time for kick-off (Image: Thomas COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

Merseyside Police's Matchday Officers, who were deployed for the match, also absolved the fans of blame.

"Can only describe it as the worst European match I've ever worked or experienced," they posted on Twitter.

"I thought the behaviour of the fans at the turnstiles was exemplary in shocking circumstances. You were not late 100%."

'Fundamental failure'

In one account of the evening, Journalist Daniel Austin reported queueing with thousands of other ticket holders for almost three hours to get into the stadium via gate Z.

He added that entrance gates were locked and turnstiles abandoned, while police used tear gas and stewards offered to take bribes from ticket holders to allow them entry.

"This was a fundamental failure of crowd management on an immense scale," he wrote in Metro.

Liverpool fans outside the gates at the Stade de France (Image: Thomas COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

"UEFA, the municipality of Saint Denis, the French police, its gendarmerie, and the state as a whole all failed in their duty to protect human beings in their care.

"The response from UEFA, the police, and the French minister for sport Amélie Oudéa-Castéra — who blamed 'the English' for the violence which was done unto fans — is unbelievable.

"It is quite frankly ludicrous that anybody working for any of those institutions would think they did their job properly on Saturday night."

'Gauntlet of thuggery'

Meanwhile, former Ireland and Liverpool defender Jim Beglin said his departure from the ground afterwards 'was the scariest I’ve ever experienced'.

"Organised gangs set about mugging departing fans," he posted on Twitter.

"We ran a gauntlet of thuggery on our way to the Metro. Not a police officer in sight.

"Witnessed so many ambush attacks on unsuspecting attendees."

The final was due to be held at the Krestovsky Stadium in Russia but was switched to Paris in late February after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The national stadium, in the Saint-Denis area of Paris, previously hosted the 2000 and 2006 Champions League finals.

The game was settled by a Vinícius Júnior goal on 59 minutes to give Real their 14th title.