Aleksander Ceferin apologizes for chaotic scenes at Paris Champions League final
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has apologized for the chaotic scenes at last year’s Champions League final and expressed his relief that “nothing bad happened in Paris”.
An independent report published last month found that European football’s governing body was primarily responsible for serious congestion problems outside the Stade de France.
Thousands of Liverpool fans were corralled against fencing and tear gassed by police to ease further trouble after a decision was made to close the turnstile gates ahead of Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Liverpool.
Liverpool fans are set to have their tickets refunded and UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis has apologized to those affected by the events in Paris.
But Ceferin said in an interview on Gary Neville’s channel The Overlap: “First of all I can say I’m sorry for what happened and we will make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s the most important thing for me.
“When I was at the game, I remember I had a meeting with the King of Spain and my people came into the room and said, ‘Something urgent had happened’. I went out and they say there is a problem with an entrance or some entrances for the fans. nothing else.
“We didn’t know at the time how serious it was because UEFA doesn’t have jurisdiction outside the stadium. There are French police and they didn’t communicate with us.
“It was a difficult situation and believe me there isn’t a single person in UEFA who doesn’t terribly regret that these things are happening. Probably the main issue at UEFA is how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Liverpool fans are pursuing legal action over what happened in Paris, where fans were initially accused by UEFA of delaying kick-off by being late, while French officials also claimed thousands of tickets had been counterfeited.
According to the independent report, these are “obviously inaccurate”.
“That was a mistake, that was a mistake on our part, but it was difficult to verify what was right and what was wrong. We received such strange information and I really didn’t know the magnitude of things that happened,” Ceferin said.
“I’m still awaiting feedback from the experts we have that are looking into this.
“As President of UEFA, I don’t care about the organization of the game, but we need to communicate better with the local authorities because in London (at the Euro 2021 final) again it wasn’t UEFA that was supposed to protect outside the stadium. it was the local police and obviously not very successful.”
Ceferin insisted it was “too early” to decide if people would lose their jobs over the farcical scenes in Paris, but promised they would learn lessons for next year’s Champions League final at Wembley would.
He added: “We will try to speak more to the local authorities and they are also learning a lot.
“They would understand the situation and not underestimate it. We have a team there all the time and they report. Thank God nothing terrible happened.”
Ceferin also reflected on the 2021 European Super League saga with former Manchester United captain Neville.
He claimed United and Liverpool were the English clubs hardest entering the breakaway league, which collapsed within 72 hours after all ‘Big Six’ members eventually withdrew.
“Unfortunately, as far as I know, your club, the (United) owners and also Liverpool were very involved,” said Ceferin.
“I think those two were the most from the English side. The latest additions were Chelsea and (Manchester) City. I’m not so sure about Tottenham and Arsenal. Both Chelsea and Manchester City hesitated from the start.”
On the possibility of a revival of the European Super League by founding members Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, Ceferin stressed: “I say play your Super League.
“You’re three, you can play your Super League. Nobody cares. Football doesn’t want them.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/uefa-aleksander-ceferin-liverpool-european-super-league-spain-b2301688.html Aleksander Ceferin apologizes for chaotic scenes at Paris Champions League final