Liverpool repeat call for Champions League final probe as UK government urges UEFA to investigate

·3-min read

Liverpool have reiterated their demand for an independent investigation into the unsavoury scenes that marred their Champions League final loss to Real Madrid, while UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries urged UEFA to probe the "concerning" events.

Liverpool called for an investigation after reports of supporters being targeted by heavy-handed policing ahead of the contest at the Stade de France on Saturday, with the showpiece event delayed over half an hour as Reds fans struggled to enter the stadium.

UEFA initially blamed the disruption on fans using counterfeit tickets, with the French interior minister supporting such claims, but widespread reports of police using tear gas and pepper spray on orderly supporters have led to calls for an investigation.

Merseyside Police praised the "exemplary" behaviour of most Liverpool fans in a statement released on Sunday, while Reds supporters group Spirit of Shankly hit out at the "incompetence" of the final's organisers.

The Premier League club have now repeated their demands for a "transparent" probe into the scenes, with CEO Billy Hogan telling the club's media channels it is "unacceptable" that fan safety was put at risk.

"What happened outside the stadium completely overshadowed [the match]," he said. "The stadium entry and the breakdown in security was absolutely unacceptable, and frankly, the treatment of our fans as well.

"As we discussed last night with UEFA, we are asking for a full and transparent investigation, an independent investigation that can help to establish the facts.

"It's absolutely imperative that we understand what happened and how we got into that situation, where people's safety was put at risk. It's important that we understand what happened last night, but it's also important that we take whatever the lessons are and ensure it never happens again.

"As an example, the Merseyside Police was on the ground in an advisory capacity, and as you may have seen they put a statement out earlier today [Sunday], where they talked about the behaviour of the fans being exemplary, doing what they were asked to do and being orderly, and [discussing] the fact fans were there very early at the stadium as well.

"We're intent on ensuring there's an independent investigation, and obviously we as a club will absolutely be a part of that and will be cooperative, and we look forward to making sure that happens and it happens well."

Hogan also revealed the club will be setting up a means by which Liverpool fans can pass their experiences onto the club, adding: "The most important thing is that people are safe, it was an incredibly difficult night for a lot of people, and we understand there were a lot of different experiences.

"It's imperative that we hear from supporters, that we get the facts, and we want to be able to provide those facts to the relevant authorities."

Meanwhile, the UK government, via culture secretary Dorries, has also demanded UEFA investigate the scenes after Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne said fans had been treated like "animals".

"The footage and accounts from Liverpool fans and the media on their entry to the Stade de France last night are deeply concerning," a widely reported statement from Dorries said.

"Thousands of ticket holders travelled to Paris in good time to support their team in the biggest match of their season.

"I urge UEFA to launch a formal investigation into what went wrong and why, in coordination with stadium staff, the French Police, French Football Federation, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Football Club.

"It is in the interests of everyone involved to understand what happened and to learn lessons from these events."

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