Sports - March 9, 2023

Real Madrid reject UEFA compensation for Champions League final chaos

Real Madrid reject UEFA compensation

Real Madrid rejected UEFA’s “insufficient” and “restricted” offer of compensation for supporters affected by trouble outside the Stade de France in Paris at last season’s Champions League final on Thursday.

The European champions, who won the trophy in the chaos-hit final against Liverpool on May 28, 2022, which saw fans funnelled by police into overcrowded bottlenecks and hit with tear gas, said they would not cooperate with the European football governing body’s plan.

UEFA said Tuesday they will reimburse all Liverpool supporters — as well as other spectators who were affected by trouble, with the game kicking off 37 minutes late in the French capital as fans struggled to enter the stadium.

“Regrettably, our club believes that UEFA’s proposal, officially announced last Tuesday, is insufficient,” said Madrid in a statement.

“It merely consists of the reimbursement of the ticket price, which is also subject to the fulfilment of a series of requirements, including providing proof of the time of access to the stadium.”

An independent report heavily criticised UEFA for the events that occurred outside the stadium.

Madrid said “given the conclusiveness of the experts’ findings” they had expected compensation in line with the seriousness of the events and UEFA’s culpability.

“All the fans experienced an unacceptable delay at the start of the match,” continued Madrid.

“In addition, there was unacceptable insecurity both in accessing and leaving the stadium, as well as additional harm such as theft, assaults and threats.

“For this reason, Real Madrid has decided not to cooperate in the restricted compensation procedure proposed by UEFA, which we ask to redress the situation and assume its full responsibility.”

Madrid said they would provide assistance to supporters “who experienced any kind of harm” at the game to make appropriate claims against UEFA.

UEFA initially tried to pin the blame for the chaos on Liverpool fans arriving late despite thousands having been held for hours outside the stadium before kick-off.

A Liverpool fans’ group, Spirit of Shankly, later said fans were left “fearing for their life” in a “maelstrom of chaos and alarm”.

The Spirit of Shankly and the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association hailed the decision to reimburse supporters but said it did not go far enough.

Lawyers for hundreds of Liverpool fans also said they would continue to pursue legal action against UEFA.

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