Report finds supporters were not to blame for Champions League Final fiasco
- An independent report into chaotic scenes at the 2022 Champions League Final has found that supporters were not responsible for crowd problems before and after the match;
- Co-authored by Clifford Stott MBE, a leading Professor of Social Psychology at Keele University, the panel concluded the primary cause for chaos around the stadium was a flawed approach to policing and failures by UEFA;
- Professor Stott was invited to participate on the panel because of his world-leading expertise in understanding and analysing the dynamics of crowd events.
An independent panel report into the chaotic scenes at the 2022 Champions League Final, co-authored by a Keele University Professor, has found that supporters were not responsible for crowd problems before and after the match.
UEFA - European football’s governing body - commissioned a panel, led by the former Portuguese Minister for Sport Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues, to investigate the chaos at the Stade de France. Dangerous congestion problems developed before the match, and police used CS gas and pepper spray on supporters as they waited to gain entry to the stadium, causing kick-off to be delayed by more than 30 minutes.
Authorities wrongly blamed ‘ticketless’ supporters
Both UEFA and French authorities, including France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin, blamed the delay on ticketless Liverpool supporters. But the report 'unequivocally' found that supporters were not responsible for the events on May 28th and highlights failures of oversight by UEFA and flawed policing as the main cause.
Using methodologies honed at Keele’s strategic research Centre - the Keele Policing Academic Collaboration (KPAC) - the panel were able to develop an evidence-based account of what happened both during the planning phase and on the day of the showcase fixture between Liverpool and Spanish club Real Madrid.
Professor Stott, who co-authored the report, said: "What we have been able to demonstrate unequivocally is that Liverpool supporters were not responsible for what happened in Paris. Instead, we show that supporters of both clubs were victims of the failures of others, particularly of an over securitised and unilateral policing approach.
"The report highlights how this flawed policing model then interacted with other issues such as failures of interoperability, local tensions in Saint Denis, poor planning and risk assessment, as well as defective oversight by UEFA. Together, these factors all culminated in a situation where supporters attending the event were placed in situations that were unsafe. We are lucky that nobody died, and that fact must not be forgotten."
The role of research by Keele’s Policing Academic Collaboration (KPAC)
Professor Stott played an important role in co-authoring the report and drawing out its key conclusions and recommendations, as well as helping to guide the panel through the complex processes underpinning the inquiry as a whole.
He said: "Involving KPAC’s research expertise in the inquiry was important recognition of the quality of the world leading crowd and policing research we produce at Keele University. It’s also important to acknowledge that our involvement in the panel reflects the social relevance of the work we do here."
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