Champions League final gets underway after delay due to chaotic scenes outside stadium

France’s national stadium stepped in to host the showpiece after St Petersburg was stripped of the final.
Champions League final gets underway after delay due to chaotic scenes outside stadium

By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer, Paris

Liverpool’s Champions League final against Real Madrid was delayed amid chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France.

France’s national stadium stepped in to host the showpiece after St Petersburg was stripped of the final in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This is the third time that the Stade de France has hosted the Champions League final but there seemed a distinct lack of organisation around this occasion.

There were shambolic scenes outside the ground in the hours before the match and the stadium announcer confirmed at 8.46pm local time – 14 minutes before kick-off – that the fixture had been delayed.

Speaking to Breakingnews.ie, one fan who was stuck queueing outside the stadium described the scenes.

"It’s a disgrace- it was a potential Hillsboro waiting to happen - effectively six security guards trying to check tickets for about 30,000 fans," the fan said.

"You could feel the tension rise -.took us 30 minutes to get through a horrible bottleneck, and we were there at 7pm for a 9pm kick off.

It was utter chaos outside
"Hopefully no one gets hurt, [it was] so badly organised.
"I am glad kick-off is delayed as lots of very stressed [were] people arriving - it was scary."

UEFA at first announced it would start at 9.15pm local time. The announcer claimed it was due to “the late arrival of fans at the stadium” and the governing body said it was due to “security reasons”.

However, Liverpool later posted on Twitter: “Kick-off has now been delayed by a further 15 minutes until 8.30pm BST.”

UEFA later said it would be 9.36pm local time and singer Camila Cabello performed her set as part of the opening ceremony at a ground where a number of fans still had not made their way in.

Kelly Cates – the daughter of Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish – posted: “Absolutely shambolic at the Stade de France.

“No way in, no way of knowing which way to go. Stay safe if you’re heading in. It has the potential to be very dangerous.”

There were large patches of empty seats as the original kick-off time passed and went, with long queues forming due to a distinct lack of organisation.

Some ticketless fans were seen scaling the perimeter fence or attempting to dart past security.

At least one gate was locked outside the ground – Gate Y, which was the main one for the Liverpool end.

Fans were seen up against the fence shouting at people to sort the situation out and let them in. Riot police were in attendance with tear gas being used.

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