Uefa Independent Report Exonerates Liveprool Supporters

Those attending the Liverpool v Madrid Champions League Final on 28.05.22 will be taking legal for injury and psychological harm.

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The Independent report is now out.  A summary of the report is below.

  • – Highly experienced external UEFA Security officer appointed by UEFA to monitor safety and security measures at UEFA to monitor safety and security measures at UEFA champions league final arrived at Stade de France at 15:30 on 28/05/2022. Security Officer began inspection of the temporary additional security and ticket check perimeter surrounding the stadium. At Additional Security Perimeter entrance 3 (ASP3), positioned at South-West corner of the stadium the security officer immediately noted the arrangements were ‘not fit for purpose’ and reported such to his UEFA colleagues.
  • – ASP3 is known as a bottleneck involving a narrow ramp up to the concourse between ASPs and turnstile entrances. Approaches to ASP3 were problematic, involving narrow pedestrian underpass which was prone to flooding and congestion and confined avenue with little means of escape.

1.1.3/1.1.4 – By about 18:00 it was clear that the assessment of the UEFA security officer was correct, with very serious congestion occurring ahead of ASP3 and soon after at about 18:50 stadium control, alarmed that the congestion has become dangerous, issued a request to the police to divert arriving supporters away from ASP3 to ASP4, the other entrance at the south of the stadium. Despite this diversion request, police were slow to react, no effective action resulted. Thousands of supporters remained corralled in this unsafe environment, unable to progress or escape, those corralled were exposed to criminality, match tickets stolen, pickpocketing etc.

1.1.5 – About 19:45, seventy five minutes before the official kick off time, police abandoned ASP3 and both police officers and stewards withdrew. Consequently thousands of supporters and locals flowed up the ramp and onto the concourse between the ASPs and turnstile perimeter. The area, confined and meant to the accessible in a controlled way to those with tickets was quite full as there had already been problems with turnstiles and gates had been closed. As a result of thousands more into the space, arrangements to optimise entry of supporters were swept away. There was a clear and immediate danger of a fatal crush.

1.1.6 – Panel agree with the decision to delay kick off, although the messaging of this had little difference to congestion. Dangerous conditions outside of the turnstiles were compounded by police deployed tear gas at disorderly groups of locals as well as using pepper spray on supporters trying to gain entrance with valid tickets. It is remarkable no one lost their life.

1.1.7 – all stakeholders interviewed by the panel agreed this was a near miss situation.

1.1.8 – comparison made to Hillsborough Disaster.

1.1.9 – UEFA announced delay in kick off was due to late arriving supporters. This claim was objectively untrue.

1.1.10 – on the night and in the immediate aftermath, French ministers, UEFA and others blamed supported at Liverpool end of the stadium whom they asserted sought to actively enter the stadium without a valid ticket. Panel found evidence does not support this assertion.

1.1.11 – several key stakeholders have no accepted responsibility for their own faults and been quick to attribute blame to others. Resonance with Hillsborough allegations. – UEFA delegated private safety and security responsibility to French Football Federation and deferred to Prefecture de Police – would have been reasonable with the one crucial addition. UEFA should have retained a monitoring and oversight role to ensure it all worked. Panel concluded this represented unacceptable abdication of responsibility by UEFA. – police adopted a model aimed at a non-existent threat from football hooligans, together with the pre-occupation that ticketless supporters required a public order policing approach rather than one based upon facilities and engagement. – multiple consequences of this defective policing model. Police and other stakeholders were deflected from playing an effective role in ensuring safe mobility of supporters to the vicinity of the stadium, or within the last kilometre,they failed to plan or operate safe access arrangements through the additional and turnstile perimeters; did not have any effective contingency plans once access arrangements failed; and they did not have any effective plan to deal with anti-social behaviour or violence perpetrated by locals. – no one appears to have identified and dealt with or escalated to higher political levels the acknowledged and evidently poor interoperability. – failures of this approach culminated in a policing operation that deployed tear gas and pepper spray, weaponry which has no place in a festival of football. – panel concluded major cause of the failure to prevent or deal with the problems arising in 4 key areas;  Changes in patterns of travel by supporters to the vicinity of the stadium,  Last kilometre crowd management and routing stadium access arrangements, and  Criminal attacks on supporters. – plans were not agreed properly. Decisions taken without communication to other partners, in particular by the police. – change of venue due to the invasion on Ukraine. Key stake holders should have ensured all arrangements were joined up and all agencies working together, with UEFA at the centre overseeing the whole project. Panel concluded this didn’t happen. – UEFA agreed with FFF to base its planning on French cup final, which took place 3 weeks before the UCLF. The panel concluded the French cup final was not a proper comparator, and reliance on it constituted an inappropriate planning short cut which contributed to failures on match day. – failure of UEFA to have oversight of its own project. Misconceived policing model, multiple interoperability failures; panel identified 8 factors which almost led to disaster.

  1. A) disproportionately a large number of LFC supporters were directed to arrive at Stade de France. Saint Denis station on train line RER D which was closest to southwest of the stadium, compared to the volume of people attending the stadium for other events.
  2. B) defective route planning between RER D and the stadium, resulted in too many people being directed by police towards the stadium via ASP3 entrance.
  3. C) Defective access arrangements at ASPs, especially ASP3 because of flawed routing, positioned on a restricted access ramp; a bottle neck.
  4. D) use of 2 different forms of tickets without extra measures to maintain throughput rates, exacerbated access problems at ASPs.
  5. E) Defective turnstile arrangements, which failed to ensure a sufficient throughput rate to guarantee safe entry.
  6. F) activities of large groups of locals, some involved in attacks on supporters and attempts to breach the perimeters and turnstiles to gain entry to the stadium and a failure to police them.
  7. G) use of tear gas and pepper spray in the confined space on the concourse.
  8. H) lack of contingency plans relating to both additional perimeter and turnstile access: there was no plan B when things went wrong.
  1. The review process.
  • – All CCTV was auto-deleted.
  1. UEFA framework and regulation.

3.2.5 – Saint Denis Convention – to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment at Football matches and other sporting events with an international dimension.

  1. Overall Conclusions

8.1.2. – As well as the 8 factors, panel found further 2; the late change of venue and the remarkable failure of joint working or interoperability.

8.1.5 – no venue risk assessment was done, no proper event risk assessment done or operational plans, multiple communication and interoperability failures between stake holders. It is important that historical and real time information was not shared, Clear absence of shareholders working together. – failure to effectively route supporters arriving at RER D to safely access the stadium. Panel concludes;

  1. a) stakeholders should, especially the Prefecture de Police, but also UEFA and FFF monitored the supporter arrival volumes in real time and also monitored the routes between RER D and the stadium.
  2. b) the obvious historical and geographical problems regarding access to stadium from RER D should or ought to have been known by the stakeholders. There should have been a venue risk assessment which would have highlighted such issues. If proper attention would have been paid to geographical and historical problems, the effective planning would have led to restrict the flow from ASP3 and ASP4.
  3. c) FFF proposed solution that was rejected by the Prefecture de Police should have been escalated to DIGES and other states authorities by FFF and UEFA.
  4. d) absence of real time monitoring, or an agreed plan to operate a safe routing scheme from RER D to stadium was a further interoperability failure. Compounded by the failure to involve CSDF, given their local knowledge. – Panel agrees with the external UEFA security officer, the ASP arrangements were not fit for purpose;

  1. a) no plan or operation was in place to monitor or restrict the number of supporters approaching the entrance. He observed no attempt to limit or alleviate the congestion once it arose.
  2. b) bottleneck, narrow ramp about 10m across, insufficient for the numbers accessing.
  3. c) photos of ASP3 show 6 channels for persons to enter. UEFA undertook a flow rate calculation on the basis of 15 lines. He expressed the view there was room for about 7 lines.
  4. d) 2 different checks at ASPs, security and tickets, was not usual, as confirmed by CSDF. Affecting throughput rates, slowing entry.
  5. e) also affected by the 2 types of ticket, paper and digital. This meant there was 3 distinct processes at ASPs. Security checks, chemical pen checks on paper tickets and digital activation of mobile phone tickets.
  6. g) police vans partially blocked the approach and part of access to ASP3, negatively affecting throughput.
  7. h) security checks were more thorough than expected.
  8. i) no police lines across the front of the access check, FFF asserted this had been expected and would have regulated flow.
  9. j) UEFA noted that only half of the stewards deployed on match day had completed their e-learning packing, which focussed on ticketing and access principles. This may have had a contributory effect but we cannot know whether those deployed at ASPs didn’t complete training.
  10. k) no contingency plans to deal with the congestion. – UEFA should have taken a proactive oversight role to ensure safe access arrangements. Panel found UEFA throughput calculations were defective. – panel has concluded the overcomplicated ticketing exacerbated the other access problems and contributed to the dangerous situation which occurred. – panel found little evidence of effective stewarding or appropriate queueing arrangements in front of the turnstiles from the outset, such arrangements rendered ineffective when the ASP was abandoned and free access was allowed into the controlled area. Lots of evidence of valid tickets having to be presented multiple times to gain entrance resulting in congestion seriously impeding flow through the turnstiles exacerbating congestion outside the turnstiles. – Panel notes evidence that police officers near to the scene of attacks on supporters failed to intervene, attacks continued in various places around the stadium, transport hubs, stations, long after the match had finished. Panel concluded;

  1. a) no evidence of any measures taken to relieve community tension which was foreseeable prior to match day.
  2. b) there was an unhappiness of local business owners and nothing was done about it.
  3. c) no evidence that the targeting of supporters and others attending the event by locals was addressed or prioritised during the planning phase.
  4. d) insufficient police resources deployed to deal with the problems.
  5. e) problems arose early and there is no evidence of an effective dynamic risk assessment and application of contingencies to prevent problems occurring. – panel notes the request by French authorities to remove reference to the role of locals from UEFA media release following the events of the night. This request should not have been made and UEFA should not have acted upon it, the effect of which was to contribute to an already misleading statement. – use of tear gas and pepper spray led to crushing as evidenced by buckled security barriers. – panel observes that the situation which led to tear gas being deployed should not have arisen and wouldn’t have if there has been effective engagement with the community, effective policing of crime ad effective access arrangements. – tear gas and pepper spray has no place at a festival of football. Damaged reputation of the events disinclined families and vulnerable supporters to attend. Raises the question mark over the ability of the French authorities to properly manage major sporting events at the Stadt de France. – UEFA ‘model’ created a lacuna, no one had proper oversight over the full planning and operational picture and a particular consequence of this was there were substantial deficits in joint working between stakeholders. – policing model was inappropriately focussed on public order policing and failed to meet obligations set out in 2016 convention; a safety, security and service model based on engagement with supporters and local communities and multi agency approach. Outdated policing model was based on flawed assumptions about risk and over reliant on reactive use of munitions. As such the policing operations not only inadequate in meeting the challenges it encountered but actively contributed to the dangers than materialised. – panel concluded that the UEFA bears primary responsibility for failures that almost led to disaster.

Having considered the report it is our considered opinion that there are clear  failures by the UEFA predominantly, as they should have had control and oversight of the planning and procedures in place. The other bodies involved also carry some of the burden for their lack of communication with each other. The police acted in a way not in accordance with the 2016 convention, however, the UEFA should have had final say in all plans, procedures in place, which they failed to do as per the report states, as so the blame falls to them.

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