|Unfortunately, the UEFA Champions League Final was not entirely the party it should have been. Not for everyone. Real Madrid beat Liverpool and won the 1–0 with a 59th-minute goal from Vinícius Júnior (BRA) for a record-extending 14th title, which is their 5th in nine years.
Real Madrid fans were able to celebrate in the stadium and globally. For Liverpool fans, it was not the same story, not only for the result but also for the way that things were handled at the stadium.
From the outside, it would seem that the biggest sporting events in the world are those that have a lower chance of being delayed or postponed due to the financial implications of every delay, and because people assume that all ends are covered.
An end that was not covered at the Stade de France in Saint, Denis, France -Paris metropolitan area- was the Liverpool end. Hundreds, if not thousands, of fans were unable to take their seats to witness their spectacle.
At the entryway, the police were spraying pepper gas on some of the fans. A mental shortcut that one could think of when told about this scenario would be instances of hooliganism but from the videos that the media has sent, it is unclear that Liverpool fans engaged in violence, at all.
French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, said at a Conference (Reuters) that Liverpool used paper tickets instead of electronic versions, which made them more prone to be falsified, in what he described as “massive fraud on an industrial scale”, saying more than two-thirds of tickets had been fake.
In emergencies like this, the best news is when there is no news. Indeed, Darmanin also pointed out the fact that there were no deaths at the stadium and that is true. European football has seen scenes of dead fans in their stadiums due to overcrowding at the grandstands.
The methods might have not been the best but in the end, lives were not lost, and although it seems like an excuse because at no point did it look as if lives were at risk, that talks precisely of good handling of people in the grander scheme of things.
Nevertheless, there are also reports of disabled people, kids, families, reporters, people with asthma, and others that were pepper-sprayed, without engaging in violent behavior. This talks more about nervousness and reckless decision-making than effective crowd control.
British authorities have demanded an investigation. Some have condemned the improper treatment of fans. The UEFA has commissioned what they call an independent report (Washington Post).
We have to be patient until the results of such an investigation are released. Perhaps, in the end, the main factor for this chaos will be something like the fact that the Real Madrid fan zone was closer to Liverpool’s, which made it easier for them to commute by public transportation, who knows? In the meantime, do not be surprised if the blame game continues.