There was absolute pandemonium outside the Stade de France as the Champions League final was delayed, leaving fans furious.
Kick-off in Sunday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris was delayed by 36 minutes “due to a security issue”, UEFA said.
The match was supposed to kick off at 5am AEST — that’s 9pm local time at the Stade de France — but announcements in the ground said the hold up was caused by the “late arrival” of supporters.
Live Stream The EFL Championship Promotion Playoff – Huddersfield vs Nottingham Forest, 1:30AM Monday 30th May – with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
That excuse sparked a furious response on social media, as fans and pundits slammed the terrible organisation of officials around the stadium that resulted in fans being locked outside and others seen climbing over fences to get in.
Some supporters with valid tickets claimed they’d been waiting in line for more than two-and-a-half hours without being able to enter the stadium as chaos erupted.
ESPN reported a build-up of supporters at perimeter points where tickets were being checked and bags searched. Because of that the authorities opened up the first control point to increase the flow of people and decrease crowding.
There were also reports of some gates being closed and Liverpool fans being directed towards a small Real Madrid entrance that quickly became blocked due to significant numbers of people trying to get in.
The Sun reports that caused large portions of the Liverpool end of the stadium to remain empty minutes prior to kick-off, leading to the delay.
There were also reports of tear gas and pepper spray being used on fans by authorities outside the ground.
ESPN reporter Mark Ogden filmed peaceful Liverpool fans stuck outside being pepper sprayed as they tried to cover their mouths to protect themselves.
One Liverpool fan told BBC Five Live: “This is the first time I’ve been pepper-sprayed at a football game! The Liverpool fans are behaving themselves!”
UEFA then announced the delay was due to fans not arriving early enough, putting that notice up on the big screen inside the stadium, despite some supporters claiming they were outside the stadium two-three hours before kick-off.
English football writer Simon Hughes tweeted: “UEFA blaming late arrival of fans. This is a f***ing disgrace. Not true. Build up caused by dangerous organisation way beyond time fans are normally expected to enter a stadium.
“They suddenly gave up on a bad idea. Thousands of people still queuing very patiently at gate X. Not letting anyone in. Police have just shot tear gas at one guy who was not happy. Everyone coughing and spluttering.”
Felow football reporter David Maddock added: “Video board states delayed start is ‘due to late arrival of fans’ & that’s appalling from UEFA. I was here 3 hours before kick off and even then you could see situation with corralling fans was getting serious & dangerous.
“NOT fans’ fault – just shocking organisation.”
Oliver Holt of The Mail wrote: “The narrative that UEFA are pushing about the late arrival of fans is misleading. Fans were here in plenty of time. It is the organisation outside the stadium that’s the problem. Reports of tear gas used outside now. A disgrace that fans – any fans – should be treated like this.”
English football great Gary Lineker was also fuming on social media, Fifteen minutes before the scheduled kick-off time, he tweeted: “Finding it impossible to get in the ground. This appears to be very dangerous. Absolute carnage.”
After kick-off was delayed for a second time the BBC presenter added: “I’m not sure it’s possible to have a more poorly organised event if you tried. Absolutely shambolic and dangerous.
“They’ve just announced another 15 minute delay ‘because of the late arrival of fans’. Utter bulls**t.”
Another tweet on the situation read: “Loads of Liverpool fans still miles away from the ground with 20 minutes to kick-off. Huge congestion issues and reports of checkpoint chaos.
“Real Madrid end completely full, Liverpool end very sparse. Fans outside, with tickets, been here for hours before kick off, not able to get in. Absolute chaos.”
Ogden added: “Whatever happens now — and no way the Liverpool end will be full at the start — UEFA have to work out how the Real Madrid fans were able to fill their end almost an hour before KO, while thousands of Liverpool fans were stuck outside in huge queues for over an hour.”
The brother of Liverpool defender Joel Matip, Marvin, was forced to flee with his pregnant wife when trying to access the stadium.
He said: “The organisation around and in the stadium is unworthy of a CL final! Using tear gas in areas with children and uninvolved fans is dangerous!”
With Kealan Hughes, The Sun
Originally published as ‘Absolute carnage’: Champions League final delayed as stadium chaos erupts