The Stade de France in central Paris was the site of chaos before the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday evening. The match which featured English club Liverpool FC and Spanish club Real Madrid had to be delayed by over half an hour as security struggled to contain the crowd and control the fans climbing over fences and barricades. Police were called in and tear gas, as well as pepper spray, were deployed onto the crowd. Leadership groups involved with Liverpool fans’ have complained about the poor organization and heavy policing that led to many children and elderly people being sprayed with tear gas.

UEFA is citing many different causes for the disorganization that occurred with the fan movement. The lack of signage on the streets as well as the lack of volunteers and ushers helping supporters navigate their way into the stadium has been given as one of the main reasons for the chaos. This may be due to the short notice and limited time the city had to prepare for the final. Originally, the Russian city of St. Petersburg was set to host the match. But due to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, the city was stripped of its hosting privileges. Paris was named host in February giving the city less than ample time to prepare for the influx of fans.

Ticketing has also been offered as another problem area. French interior Géral Darwinian claimed there was “massive fraud at an industrial level,” saying that “70% of the tickets were fake tickets coming into the Stade de France.” There were also claims of malfunctioning scanners at the event. Deputy mayor of the 12th arrondissement in Paris, Richard Bouigue, released a statement to Liverpool supporters saying, “the time for official denial is over, the time for apologies must be imposed. I deplore the dysfunctions in the organization of the game and the lack of maintenance of order that led to this real fiasco.”

The problems with the UEFA Champions League Final have raised concerns about Paris’s ability to host the Olympics in 2024. UEFA is launching an investigation and is commissioning a report of all “entities involved” at the Stade de France as it is a key Paris 2024 venue. As of now, Liverpool fans are still expressing displeasure about their treatment and their team’s ultimate 1-0 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.

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