Tear gas fired at Liverpool fans amid CL final stadium chaos
RIOT POLICE fired tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool supporters forced to endure lengthy waits to get into the Champions League (CL) final which was delayed for 37 minutes as security struggled with frustrated crowds at the Stade de France on Saturday.
As Liverpool lost the showpiece game of the European season to Real Madrid 1-0, UEFA put the blame for blocked turnstiles on thousands of fans who purchased fake tickets. The competition organisers did not identify where they were from and Liverpool said it was “hugely disappointed” with the security issues experienced by its fans.
Angry Liverpool fans held in the lines were seen hanging on to railings and heard shouting: “Let us in. We’ve got tickets.”
There were many instances of fans breaking through security and attempting to get into the stadium. The Associated Press saw two fans – one was wearing Liverpool attire – wrestled to the ground by stewards and bundled out of the gates.
Three more fans were seen evading stewards and sprinting through the concourse and into the bottom level of the stadium. Other people, wearing no obvious club attire, climbed the fences instead as Liverpool fans shouted at them to get down.
The final kicked off despite fans still trying to get through ticket checks. Fresh rounds of tear gas were fired by riot police from inside the security perimeter at people outside the fences. Police and stewards were seen falling to the ground, impacted by the eye-irritating substances.
Supporter Colm Lacey saw “children crying, people trapped” outside the entrances.
“People started jumping the queue, then they ripped the gate open and then there was a push,” Lacey said.
About 15 minutes before the scheduled kick-off of 9 p.m. local time, an announcement was made that there would be a delay, blaming the late arrival of fans to the stadium. It was greeted by jeers inside the stadium, given those fans had already endured long queues. The game eventually started at 9.37 p.m.