Liverpool slam 'false narratives' as club implores UEFA to act upon recommendations made by Champions League panel report
- Report found UEFA bore "primary responsibility" for Paris chaos
- Fans were teargassed, crushed & pepper sprayed outside Stade de France
- Reds say supporter safety has to be "number one priority"
WHAT HAPPENED? On Monday, UEFA released the independent panel report into events in Paris last May, in which Liverpool and Real Madrid supporters were subjected to teargas and pepper spray attacks from police, and were kettled into dangerous crushes outside the Stade de France. The report, led by Dr. Tiago Brandao Rodrigues, found that UEFA and the French authorities must take "primary responsibility" for the chaos, which could have led to the event becoming a "mass fatality catastrophe".
Liverpool supporters, who were blamed by some UEFA officials and politicians in the aftermath, were exonerated by the report, with their collective actions found to have been “instrumental in protecting vulnerable people and averting what might well have been more serious injuries and deaths".
WHAT THEY SAID: In response, Liverpool issued a statement that said: "We implore UEFA to fully enact the recommendations as outlined by the Panel – no matter how difficult – to ensure supporter safety is the number one priority at the heart of every UEFA football fixture."
It also added that: "Shocking false narratives were peddled in the immediate aftermath of that night in Paris; narratives that have since been totally disproven. The independent French Senate report published in July 2022 found Liverpool supporters were unfairly and wrongly blamed for the chaotic scenes to divert attention from the real organisational failures. The Independent Senate report also published 15 recommendations for improvements. No action has been taken on these recommendations to date.
"A further independent, 160-page report, using almost 500 eye-witness testimonies and authored by the highly respected critical criminologist, academic and author Professor Phil Scraton, concluded that UEFA had achieved abject failure in trying to meet its responsibilities.
"It is shocking that more than 30 years after the Hillsborough disaster any club and our group of fans would be subject to such fundamental safety failings which have had such a devastating impact on so many. But even more concerning is the realisation that for families, friends and survivors of Hillsborough, Paris has only exacerbated their suffering. Our thoughts go out to all our fans who have suffered as a result of Paris and we would remind them of the mental health support we put in place in the days following the disaster that was the UEFA Champions League final in Paris.
"As a football club with proud history in Europe, we call on UEFA to do the right thing and implement the 21 recommendations to ensure the safety of all football supporters attending any future UEFA football match."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: UEFA has said it welcomes the findings of the independent panel, and has offered, via its General Secretary, Theodore Theodoridis, an apology to supporters who experienced the chaos, and were then "unjustly blamed" for the situation. It has said it will launch a separate refund scheme for fans who attended the game.
“UEFA is committed to learning from the events of 28 May, and will cooperate closely with supporters’ groups, the finalist clubs, the host associations and local authorities in order to deliver outstanding finals where everyone can enjoy the game in a safe, secure and welcoming environment," Theodoridis added.
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