Football Supporters Europe (FSE) welcomes the process and the findings of the independent UEFA Champions League Final (UCLF) review and can confirm immediate engagement with UEFA on the implementation of the recommendations relating to supporters. FSE also acknowledges the apology made to supporters by UEFA.
On May 28th last year, thousands of passionate and loyal supporters, spending thousands of euro following their team across Europe, were subjected to utterly deplorable and dangerous treatment outside the Stade de France in Paris. This included bottleneck queues without access to water in sweltering heat and being assaulted with tear gas by the same overzealous police that supposedly serve to protect, leaving many traumatised.
The independent review was established to identify and understand the circumstances around a series of events throughout the day of the Final, and to determine what lessons need to be learnt to ensure there can be no repeat of the repercussions faced by supporters that night. The working group examined all relevant operational plans related to security, mobility, and ticketing. It also scrutinised the planning and preparations made by all entities involved in the staging both the final as well as the Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF fan meeting points earlier in the day.
As a result, the review process has produced clear and comprehensive recommendations having engaged key stakeholders including UEFA, the French Football Federation, police, and other stakeholders, in addition to FSE and relevant national and local supporter groups.
We would especially like to emphasise the importance of involving organised supporter groups in such work. The input and support from Federación de Accionistas y Socios del Fútbol Español (FASFE), Spirit of Shankly (SOS), and Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association (LDSA), together with a number of Real Madrid socios, was critical in understanding the full impact and the true horror of supporters’ experiences on the night.
The review concluded there was no evidence to substantiate the blame directed at supporters. The process was also transparent and thorough. As an urgent priority, FSE will now work with UEFA to make certain that the recommendations enhance the preparations for this season’s finals, in line with the cooperative practices set out in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two organisations as well as the Saint-Denis Convention.
The review acknowledges that “it is remarkable that no one lost their life”. For this very reason alone, the recommendations need to be implemented unreservedly, in full, and across all future UEFA competitions and matches. Football supporters must be able to support their teams in proximity to and at matches with peace of mind and full confidence in the event organisers to keep them safe. Anything less is a failure of duty.
- The Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events (Saint-Denis Convention) is an internationally binding instrument establishing an integrated approach based on three interdependent pillars: safety, security and service in relation to supporters. France ratified the Convention in 2017.
- FSE and UEFA signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2023 (here).