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Champions League final kicks off late due to ‘fiasco’ outside Stade de France

Paris (AFP) – The Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris kicked off over half an hour later than scheduled having been delayed “due to a security issue”, UEFA said on Saturday.

The match was supposed to kick off at 21:00 (1900 GMT) at the Stade de France but announcements in the ground said the hold up was caused by the “late arrival” of supporters.

After a delay the teams were lining up in the tunnel as the opening ceremony got underway with kick-off 36 minutes late.

Police sources told AFP that supporters tried to force their way through the first ticket checkpoint outside the stadium — situated in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis — but that access to the venue remained “watertight”.

Tear gas was fired by police after several dozen people attempted to climb over barriers, according to an AFP journalist on the scene with about 20 succeeding in doing so and getting into the ground.

Thousands of supporters were still massed outside the stadium with half an hour to go to kick-off.

Football Supporters Europe, a lobbying group representing fans around the continent, hit back at the security arrangements. 

“Fans at the Champions League final bear no responsibility for tonight’s fiasco,” it tweeted before the match finally got underway.

“Thousands are still trapped outside the stadium, remaining calm in the face of a completely unreasonable situation.

“We urge the relevant authorities to ensure the safety of all fans.”

Kelly Cates, the daughter of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, described the pre-match scenes outside France’s national stadium as “absolutely shambolic”.

“No way in, no way of knowing which way to go. Stay safe if you’re heading in,” Cates posted on her Twitter account.

There were still large sections of empty seats in the official Liverpool end of the 80,000-capacity stadium at the time the game was supposed to start.

Some 6,800 security forces were deployed for the event, with between 30,000 and 40,000 Liverpool fans without tickets for the final expected in Paris.

A fan zone with a capacity of over 40,000 was set up for them on an avenue in the east of the French capital.

Around 20,000 fans of each club were officially allocated tickets for the game.

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