Fans clash with French police at delayed Champions League final (VIDEO)
Clashes involving football fans and police at the Stade de France have marred the build-up to the Champions League final as kick-off was delayed for the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
An estimated 50,000 Liverpool supporters have arrived in the French capital Paris as their club aims to lift the European Cup for a seventh time and stop their La Liga opponents from securing a record 14th triumph in club football's elite competition.
According to RMC, however, some fans without means of entering France's national stadium legally have managed to get past the police at the gate in a major security breach echoing scenes before England's Euro 2020 final loss to Italy at Wembley last summer.
Paris is RED pic.twitter.com/EPpdKcfxsA— Daniel Nicolson (@danielnicolson) May 28, 2022
The French outlet claimed that Liverpool fans "overwhelmed" police at Gate U "for a period of several minutes."
And while footage is yet to emerge of big groups trying to force their way in, Spanish media shared a video of some individuals claiming over a security fence and then sprinting up the stadium's steps.
Elsewhere on Twitter, Paris Police issued a warning to ticketless football enthusiasts not to "force entry" to the match.
The Parisian police authority's message to fans: https://t.co/gpmJRmE9Bk— Get French Football News (@GFFN) May 28, 2022
🤯 Una final de Champions y está pasando esto, vaya locura #UCLFinal 📹 @carrusel & @antonmeanapic.twitter.com/LAL7J4Ebyd— MARCA (@marca) May 28, 2022
Liverpool fans with tickets have complained of an "absolute shambles" getting into the ground and urged European football governing body UEFA to look into the matter.
One Liverpool supporter uploaded a photo of masses of fans packed under a bypass where he claimed they had been waiting for one hour while spending almost two hours getting into the Stade de France.
#ucl absolute shambles getting to the ground. UEFA need to look at this. One hour waiting under a bypass to now wait to get into our gate. We have been nearly 2 hours getting into the ground pic.twitter.com/jlhUpmyLxu— steve lesbirel (@stevelesbirel) May 28, 2022
Outside. Fans say it’s a “disgrace”, “unsafe”, police not doing anything”, “dangerous for kids”. Ticket QR codes not working either. #UCLfinalpic.twitter.com/QB8bnpf6Ct— Samindra Kunti (@samindrakunti) May 28, 2022
Closed gate for no reason. No explanation from stewards. Can’t get in at any other gates. European cup final, with tickets costing up to £550. pic.twitter.com/5UwAA2c0tl— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) May 28, 2022
As the clock neared 9pm in Europe, which was meant to be the match's start time, it was reported that kick-off would be delayed with an official announcement in the stadium stating this was "due to the late arrival of fans."
This message, widely criticized as an attempt to deflect the blame for organizational shortcomings, was also shown on the big screens inside the stadium with a new kick-off time set to be announced in 15 minutes.
In quick succession, BT Sport in the UK relayed tales of groups of fans including women and children being teargassed by French police supported by an ESPN reporter clip of them in the act.
Pepper spraying fans outside stadium in Paris pic.twitter.com/drgzEpR9gD— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) May 28, 2022
As kick-off was moved back to 9.30pm local time, the teams returned to the pitch for a second warm-up as there were still accounts of matchgoers struggling to get into the Stade de France.
Once Camila Cabello had completed a pre-match show, though, the action finally commenced as promised around 40 minutes late.