UEFA has rejected the postponement of the Champions League final that followed the chaos outside the stadium as a “point of contention” for Liverpool and Real Madrid players.
The match in Paris on May 28 was delayed by 36 minutes, and fans were forced to wait in long lines outside the Stade de France and were subjected to tear gas from French police.
Some were unable to make it to the stadium despite having real tickets, and UEFA initially blamed the kick-off delay on Liverpool fans who showed up late, before the French Senate decided the fans were “unfairly” responsible.
Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti had to warm up a second time after kick-off was postponed, and Liverpool assistant Pep Legends recently described the dressing room’s feeling of anger at the scenes outside the stadium.
But the impact of the chaos on the pitch is downplayed in the UEFA Champions League 2022 Technical Report.
“For the indoor colors, this was a final 36-minute-delayed kick-off amidst distressing spectacles for fans outside,” the board wrote.
“The impact on players who had to leave the locker rooms for the second warm-up before kickoff was ultimately a moot point.”
Liverpool’s Andy Robertson said of the delay: “You warm up, you run and you get ready for the game and you’re told it’s half an hour…it’s not ideal when you’re playing the biggest game of your season.”
Speaking in his book ‘Intensity’, Ljinders lifted the lid not only on Liverpool’s disappointment with the 1-0 defeat, but also the players’ frustration with the organisers.
“The calm was deadly. Some (players) were shedding tears, others were completely frustrated and most of us disappointed,” Ljinders wrote, describing the scene after the match.
“UEFA, by the way, did not warn us about the delay. We only found out after we finished warming up. Can you imagine that before the Champions League final?
“But more importantly, the terrible treatment of our fans outside, as they try to enter to watch the match. A complete failure by the authorities, UEFA and the police.
“We couldn’t believe what we saw and heard when we later received photos, videos and stories from those involved in this accident. This included my family members who told me they cried – at first in fear of going out and then later in complete relief once they arrived.”
UEFA has apologized for the “frightening and sad events” in the days following the final and commissioned an independent report on the pre-match scenes.
(Photo: Getty Images)