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Liverpool supporters show their tickets as they struggle to get into the Champions League final in Paris last May

Uefa to refund 19,618 Liverpool fans who bought tickets for 2022 Champions League final

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UEFA will refund all Liverpool fans’ tickets from the 2022 Champions League final after a review found that a catalogue of organisational failures “almost led to a disaster” outside the Stade de France.

The refund scheme covers all of the Liverpool allocation – 19,618 tickets – with supporters receiving the full cost of their ticket back from European football’s governing body, with prices ranging from £59.40 up to £585.70 for a seat at the incident-hit final in Paris last May.

Liverpool were involved in the process that led to this decision, having influence on discussions from the start.

The refund comes after their fans were indiscriminately sprayed with tear gas leading to crushes around the stadium before the game, but were initially blamed by UEFA and the French government for causing the disturbances.

Both later rowed back on those claims with a UEFA-commissioned report later praising their conduct, and saying the organisational failures from the two governing bodies could have had catastrophic consequences.

The final, which Real Madrid won 1-0, was delayed by 38 minutes due to the crowd issues, with fans inside the stadium told a “security issue” was to blame for the late running.

UEFA apologised to Liverpool in February and promised “a special refund scheme for fans”, which the organisation then announced on Tuesday.

Some Real Madrid fans will also be eligible for refunds, with anyone who did not access the stadium before the originally scheduled kick-off time – or at all – among those able to claim.

UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said: “We have taken into account a huge number of views expressed both publicly and privately and we believe we have devised a scheme that is comprehensive and fair.

“We value the input from the Liverpool FC supporter organisations Spirit of Shankly (SoS) and Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association (LDSA) as well as the open and transparent dialogue throughout this period.

“We recognise the negative experiences of those supporters on the day and with this scheme we will refund fans who had bought tickets and who were the most affected by the difficulties in accessing the stadium.”

Spirit of Shankly welcomed the news, saying in a statement that UEFA had “gone some way to acknowledging their part in the fiasco”.

“But it does not excuse UEFA, exempt them from criticism or lessen the need for them to implement all of the recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry,” they added.

What went wrong in Paris?

Police have been blamed for not being proactive enough in intervening when locals – who tried to climb fences and jump turnstiles – attacked fans and for being over-reliant on the use of tear gas and pepper spray on blameless fans.

UEFA as event owner has been assigned “primary responsibility” but it’s understood some commission members disagreed with the conclusion. And the report says the police and French football federation “bear responsibility” because of their roles ensuring public safety.

Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan said he the good behaviour of Liverpool’s supporters was the reason why there was no policing ‘disaster’ during the 2022 Champions League final in Paris.

The lack of a Plan B has been uncovered – contingencies that could have seen stewards and police redeployed to deal with crowd management challenges.

The match was delayed for 37 minutes as a combination of operational problems outside the venue created access issues for distressed fans – particularly those who are disabled and asthmatics who had to contend with the tear gas and pepper spray.

There was a “massive” bottleneck when Liverpool supporters were funnelled through a narrow gap and tear gas was fired into an area containing thousands of Liverpool fans.

The commission rejected attempts to blame ticketless fans by French authorities on the night of May 28 and said late arriving supporters were not a cause as problems were apparent about three hours before kick-off.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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