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‘Fake tickets’ to blame for Champions League final delay say UEFA


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 “fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles” UEFA said on Saturday.

The match was supposed to kick off at 21:00 (1900 GMT) at the Stade de France but got pushed back due to the queues of fans who could not get in due to the fake tickets.

“In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles,” read UEFA’s statement.

“This created a build-up of fans trying to get in.

“As a result, the kick off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access.

“As numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kick off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.

“UEFA is sympathetic to those affected by these events and will further review these matters urgently together with the French police and authorities, and with the French Football Federation.”

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.

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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