Last night's Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid was supposed to be a celebration of football. It featured two of the biggest club's in Europe, facing off in the continent's most prestigious game.
While the players would serve up a very entertaining contest on the pitch, that has largely been overshadowed by events outside the stadium.
Kick-off for the game was delayed by over 30 minutes due to issues with getting supporters into the Stade de France. While UEFA initially said that this was down to the late arrival of fans, such claims were easily dismissed.
Many Liverpool fans arrived up to three hours before kick-off, only to be forced to wait for hours on their way to the stadium due to poor organisation from police.
French police forced the supporters into a bottleneck on their route towards the ground, leading to massive delays. When they did eventually get near the entrance, they found that police had locked the gates. The result was thousands of supporters left standing there for hours.
Not only that, but the force used by police seemed entirely unreasonable.
French police treatment of Liverpool fans in Paris
A number of clips have been doing the rounds on social media which seemingly well behaved supporters being tear gassed. The clip below shows how one fan was targeted as he simply attempted to scan his ticket at the turnstile.
I mean seriously… what is this?
Fans literally just walking through a gate to scan their tickets and this happens? It makes no sense… pic.twitter.com/WDmgisLMST
— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) May 29, 2022
Another clip below shows how Liverpool fans were left standing in a dangerously crowded area outside the stadium gates, with another supporter targeted by police with tear gas.
Shocking 😳 French police #Disgraceful #Liverpool we feel for you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/kn3JyvFvm2
— AamirTahir29 (@AamirTahir29) May 28, 2022
Irish impressionist Conor Moore was among those caught up in the mess before kick-off.
— Conor Moore (@ConorSketches) May 29, 2022
UEFA soon changed the narrative that the delay was caused by 'thousands of British fans' attempting to enter the ground without tickets, something that has been disputed by both journalists and fans who were on the scene at the time.
In fact, it seems as though the majority of the unrest was caused by locals attempting to storm the ground without proper accreditation.
I came across this issue repeatedly as I tried to access the stadium last night. Locals trying to force their way in leading to security closing the gates and keeping out legitimate fans with tickets. Police either didn't know how to deal with it or didn't want to #LFC #UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/JZyexADoMa
— Nick Parrott (@NickParrottTV) May 29, 2022
While these scenes would thankfully cease during the game, the final whistle brought yet more trouble.
A number of Liverpool supporters reported being tear gassed as they left the ground, despite there being no sign of crowd trouble. Well-known YouTuber Simon Wilson was among those who suffered at the hands of the police.
Gutted about the result last night and the scenes before and after the game! Hope everyone in Paris is well 🙏🏼 Me and my dad got tear gassed coming out of the match, horrendous experience! (1/4)
— Simon Wilson (@simonjwils) May 29, 2022
One Liverpool fan shared a clip of his nine-year old son, who had suffered the effects of being caught up in the gas.
It seemed a similar situation was unfolding across the city at the Liverpool fan park.
Soon after the game, police would indiscriminately direct tear gas at the supporters.
@LFC are you going to stand up for you fans and do something about this abuse tear gas at full time in paris fan park @lfcticketscheap pic.twitter.com/7wJARVkuyc
— Sol Simpson (@sollsimpson) May 28, 2022
The entire situation reflects very poorly on both UEFA and local authorities, especially when it seems as though both were rather untruthful about the reasons for the delay of kick-off.
A number of journalists on the scene also reported that police attempted to stop them from filming the tear gas being used on supporters, only for UEFA officials to intervene.
This excellent thread by journalist Rob Draper goes into detail on how poorly the entire event was handed.
It’s important to tell what happened on the ground last night as I see that there are already several versions of ‘The Truth’ flying around. I was on the ground from 6.45pm (2.15 hrs before kick off) when problems began. So here’s a 🧵explaining my experiences….
— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) May 29, 2022
Considering that Paris was handed the final at short notice instead of St Petersburg due to the fact that it was seen as a safe option to host an event of this scale, plenty of questions must now be asked around what occurred in and around the city last night.