Final postponed amid Liverpool, Real Madrid fans in chaos
Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid has been postponed by 36 minutes due to security issues outside the Stade de France in Paris.
The game was originally scheduled to kick off at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). But as 9pm approached, thousands of Liverpool fans with tickets were stuck in bottlenecks outside the stadium gates, some of which were closed.
The source of the chaos was unclear. videos showed Liverpool fans crammed into crowded areas. Some jumped over barriers, presumably to escape the dangerous crowd.
The Telegraph reported that “agonizingly slow security checks caused a major bottleneck with fans at one entrance and that with two and a half hours to go before kick-off “checks had slowed to only let a trickle of fans through and hundreds of fans crammed into one scarce Place.”
Police also used pepper spray to disperse crowds in some areas around the stadium.
That Associated Press reports that after kick-off “fresh tear gas volleys” were used by riot police to keep fans out of the stadium.
A Liverpool fan told the AP that the experience, which many had paid thousands of dollars for, was “absolutely awful” and that fans were being pushed around. “It’s just madness,” he said.
UEFA, the governing body of European football and organizer of the Champions League, cited “the fans’ late arrival at the stadium”. his in-stadium message announcing the delaybut cited “problemas de seguridad” – security issues – in its Spanish-language announcement and in official statements on-line.
Many Liverpool fans had in fact arrived several hours before kick-off, only to be met with chaos en route to their designated goals.
Just before 21:10 local time, the Liverpool players returned to the pitch to warm up again. Real Madrid players joined them minutes later. Eventually, after UEFA extended an initial 15-minute delay to 30 minutes, the match started at 9:36 a.m. local time (3:36 ET), with the stadium mostly – if not completely – full.
The 2022 Champions League final was originally set to be played in Saint Petersburg, but UEFA postponed it at the end of February in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This is an evolving story and will be updated.