Champions League final delayed as fans struggle to enter Stade de France

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Liverpool’s Champions League final against Real Madrid was delayed amid chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France.

France’s national stadium stepped in to host the showpiece after St Petersburg was stripped of the final in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This is the third time that the Stade de France has hosted the Champions League final but there seemed a distinct lack of organisation around this occasion.

There were shambolic scenes outside the ground in the hours before the match and the stadium announcer confirmed at 8.46pm local time – 14 minutes before kick-off – that the fixture had been delayed.

UEFA at first announced it would start at 9.15pm local time. The announcer claimed it was due to “the late arrival of fans at the stadium” and the governing body said it was due to “security reasons”.

However, Liverpool subsequently posted on Twitter: “Kick-off has now been delayed by a further 15 minutes until 8.30pm BST.”

UEFA later said it would be 9.36pm local time and singer Camila Cabello performed her set as part of the opening ceremony at a ground where a number of fans still had not made their way in.

Kelly Cates – the daughter of Liverpool great Sir Kenny Dalglish – posted: “Absolutely shambolic at the Stade de France.

“No way in, no way of knowing which way to go. Stay safe if you’re heading in. It has the potential to be very dangerous.”

There were large patches of empty seats as the original kick-off time passed and went, with long queues forming due to a distinct lack of organisation.

Some ticketless fans were seen scaling the perimeter fence or attempting to dart past security.

At least one gate was locked outside the ground – Gate Y, which was the main one for the Liverpool end.

Fans were seen up against the fence shouting at people to sort the situation out and let them in. Riot police were in attendance with tear gas being used.

Liverpool later released a statement calling for a thorough investigation into events outside the ground, saying UEFA’s claims that the issues had been caused by the late arrival of Reds fans were “totally inaccurate”.

A club spokesperson said: “We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and break down of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced this evening at the Stade de France.

“This is the greatest match in European football and supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight.

“We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”

UEFA also released a statement, blaming “fake tickets” for the problems.

It read: “In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles.

Pepper spray is used against fans outside the ground
Police used pepper spray against fans outside the ground (Adam Davy/PA)

“This created a build-up of fans trying to get in. As a result, the kick off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access.

“As numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kick-off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.

“UEFA is sympathetic to those affected by these events and will further review these matters urgently together with the French police and authorities, and with the French Football Federation.”

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