Real Madrid seeks answers over Champions League final turmoil
Almost a week after the Champions League final escalated into chaos in France, Real Madrid is demanding an explanation for the disorder that it said left its fans “abandoned and defenseless.”
Real Madrid had won the European title by defeating Liverpool 1-0 as problems occurred outside the Stade de France in suburban Paris.
“We call for answers and explanations in order to determine those responsible for leaving the fans abandoned and defenseless,” Madrid said in a statement. “Fans who in general terms showed exemplary conduct at all times.” The Spanish club questioned the decision to pick suburban Paris as a replacement for the Russian city of St. Petersburg, which was originally scheduled to host the final before Russia invaded Ukraine. “We would like to know the reasons which led to this venue being chosen to host the final and the criteria used, taking into account the experiences of the day,” Madrid said.
Liverpool had already complained about those involved in organizing the event shortly after the final. Most of the attention at the time went to the access problems faced by the English club’s fans, but later there were also reports of disorder on the Madrid side.
The Spanish club was upset with the violence that occurred outside the stadium after the game. It said that “something which should have been a wonderful festival of football” for fans “quickly turned into a series of unfortunate events which have caused a sense of outrage around the world.” It mentioned the “revealing images” published by the media that showed several supporters being “attacked, harassed, assaulted and robbed in violent fashion. These occurrences continued as they moved in their cars or busses, causing concern for their physical well-being. Certain fans even had to spend the night in hospital as a result of injuries.”
Authorities said the problems after the match occurred because police officers were moved closer to the stadium gates to help disperse fans, leaving other areas without surveillance. Liverpool said it collected more than 5,000 testimonies from supporters who traveled to France. Chief executive Billy Hogan said he was “horrified by the way some men, women, children – able bodied, less able bodied – have been indiscriminately treated.” Madrid defender Dani Carvajal said it was “a pretty big mess” for his club’s fans and that security was not property provided for the supporters or the players’ relatives before and after the match. According to the French Football Federation (FFF), 35,000 people without tickets or with “fake” tickets made their way to the Stade de France,
European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, has also started to gather evidence about issues outside the Stade de France that marred one of the world’s biggest sporting occasions.
“Football has transmitted an image to the world which is far away from the values and goals which it should pursue,” Madrid said. “Our fans and supporters deserve a response and those responsible to be held accountable in order for events like these to be eradicated from football and sport in general.”