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Report finds police treatment at Liverpool-Real Madrid Champions League final 'constituted criminal assault'

18:48 GMT+4 17/10/2022
Liverpool FC v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final 2021/22
An academic-led report into the chaos surrounding May's Champions League final has found that police treatment of fans "constituted criminal assault".
  • Liverpool fans robbed and tear-gassed in May
  • Police actions "reckless and dangerous"
  • UEFA's organisation considered "an abject failure"

WHAT'S HAPPENING? The report, led by Professor Phil Scraton - previously a key part of the Hillsborough Independent Panel - found that police treatment in Paris involved "persistent, random police assaults on fans, and unprovoked deployment of tear gas on men, women and children trapped in confined spaces". The report continues that their actions were "reckless and dangerous. It constituted criminal assault.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The verdict of Scraton's panel comes many months after Liverpool fans were robbed and tear-gassed outside the Stade de France, with the final being delayed by over half an hour as a result. Liverpool fans themselves were initially blamed for the unrest, leading to manager Jurgen Klopp and the club's supporters union, The Spirit of Shankly, speaking out.

AND WHAT'S MORE: The report details the extent of the policing measures put in place by UEFA, labelling its organisation "an abject failure". In detail, the panel found that pre-match preparation, provision for crowd safety and event management were all inadequate, while policing methods were deemed aggressive. Tear gas was used on children, elderly and disabled people caught up on the chaos when entering, before fans "were attacked at knife-point by gangs who stole their possessions" upon leaving the stadium.

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

THE VERDICT:

From GOAL's Liverpool correspondent Neil Jones: For many Liverpool supporters, Paris marked a turning point, a line in the sand. A permanent change in their relationship with football.

If that sounds dramatic, it really shouldn't. Going to football matches is supposed to be about fun, entertainment, camaraderie, a sense of occasion. At Stade de France, it became about fear, survival, physical and mental torment. Experiences like those are hard to forget.

Over the course of the four-and-a-half months since that night, GOAL has spoken to countless fans about their experiences. They are never easy conversations. Plenty have not returned to watch matches, even in the safe, familiar surroundings of Anfield. Others were left disgusted by the response of UEFA and the French authorities, and utterly disheartened by the desire of rival fans to revel in their trauma, and to even attempt to blame them for it.

On Monday night the BBC will release a documentary explaining exactly what happened on May 28. It should be watched by every football supporter. What happened to Liverpool fans will happen to others, unless lessons are learned, people are held accountable and changes are made.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? While the Paris police have expressed regret about May's stadium failures, the results from UEFA's individual report are due to be released in the next month.