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23 Sep, 2022 15:23

Over 1,000 Liverpool fans to launch UEFA legal claim after Paris chaos

Fans are claiming they suffered psychological and physical damage at the Champions League final this year
Over 1,000 Liverpool fans to launch UEFA legal claim after Paris chaos

In excess of 1,700 Liverpool supporters have registered with legal firms ahead of planned action against UEFA in which they are set to claim that they suffered physical and psychological trauma at the Champions League final in Paris in May.

Some people within the collective are understood to be alleging that they suffered broken bones during crowd disturbances ahead of the showpiece fixture between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France, with others said to be exhibiting symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The match was originally scheduled to take place in St Petersburg, Russia, but was moved to the French capital by European football authorities following sanctions placed against Russian sport following the military operation in Ukraine. 

Numerous reports from the scene on May 28 detailed various disturbances which are alleged to have been caused by poor crowd control efforts imposed by French police.

One such complaint centers around a narrow route Liverpool supporters were sent on their journey to the stadium which ended at checkpoint which caused a bottlenecked congregation of supporters, and which led to several supporters claiming they were crushed against barriers.

Several turnstiles to gain entry to the stadium were also left closed which led to a vast crowd of people attempting to gain entry, as well as an increased danger of supporters being injured.

UEFA and French police subsequently blamed Liverpool supporters for the crowd issues.

Liverpool–based lawyer Gerard Long says that his his law firm, Binghams Solicitors, has received 1,300 enquiries from people wishing to make a claim against UEFA.

We are representing people who suffered physical crushing injuries at the turnstiles, and very many people who have suffered psychologically; some were in fear of their lives,” Long said, according to The Guardian.

Clients have reported anxiety, PTSD, nightmares, never wanting to go to a European football match or even France again.

Our case is that UEFA as the organizers had a duty of care to people – who paid a lot of money for tickets – and they breached it.”

Another legal expert, Jill Paterson, says that her firm has received interest from around 400 people who attended the game and who reported various injuries related to the crush, as well as from police who used batons and shields against the fans.

Our clients have told us that they were crushed and teargassed, and in fear for their lives,” Paterson said. “Some are people who were previously affected by the Hillsborough disaster.

Thousands of people spent their hard-earned money on tickets and travel to what should have been a world-class event. Their safety should have been guaranteed; that is what they paid for as part of their ticket – a well-run event with all the necessary safety and security protocols and resources in place.

There is no excuse for the chaos and trauma that unfolded. We were approached by one Liverpool fan almost immediately after the event and we have been looking into this since then and liaising with French lawyers to build a strong case to try and get some redress for the fans.”

A UEFA report into the incident is expected towards the end of November, and the organization has stated that it will make no further comment until its release. 

However, it did previously express regret at the scenes “to all the fans who had to experience or witness frightening and distressing situations that evening. No football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again.