Real Madrid sealed their 14th Champions League title to much fanfare in Madrid, sparking wild celebrations at Plaza de Cibeles, as is the custom. Naturally, the atmosphere was different on the losing side, but not for the right reasons.
The match was delayed by over an hour as Liverpool fans struggled to access the Stade de France. Due to poor organisation and an overzealous approach to security, Liverpool fans were bottlenecked in the hot sun and unable to get in on time.
“In the end, I felt for them – and they are passionate Liverpudlians – that the smallest problem we had that night was that we lost the game. Imagine that around the Champions League final. Crazy.”
He then went on to give his view on UEFA and future events.
“It says it all. It’s why everyone, the authorities, have to make sure this does not happen again. It was clear where it was (held) was a problem. I think in Paris, the authorities would have known about the regional issues there. UEFA decided pretty quick that it will be in Paris. There were other cities, obviously, where it could have been held. I understand that they got the information pretty late.”
“So how to organise it? You need somewhere it is easy to organise – and UEFA and Paris, this is not the first time they have worked together, all these kind of things. I’m 100 per cent sure that nobody made a mistake intentionally. It’s not that everyone thought: ‘ah, pfft, who cares how supporters get in!’ But the mistakes still happened and now we have to sort it.”
There has been plenty of controversy in recent times about the media and political presentation of football fans to the wider public. Given the legacy of the Hillsborough disaster surrounding Liverpool in particular, attempts by UEFA to pass the blame for the mistakes onto fans was especially insensitive. Especially within British football, the matter touches upon deeply ingrained classism.