UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has apologised to fans of both Liverpool and Real Madrid over the events surrounding the 2022 Champions League final.
The game, which was ultimately won 1-0 by Real, was marred by ugly clashes between fans and police before the game, after which there was a significant investigation into what had happened.
Blame was initially put on supporters, who were teargassed by police and trapped in bottlenecks, but those involved always argued their innocence and an independent report last month ruled that UEFA bore ‘primary responsibility’.
Claims from both UEFA and French authorities that ‘ticketless fans’ were to blame were also dismissed, with this report stating there was no evidence to suggest supporters were responsible.
UEFA issued an apology statement after the report was released, but Ceferin has now spoken publicly to discuss the incident.
“I feel sorry for what happened and we will make sure that it doesn’t happen again, that’s the most important thing for me,” he told Gary Neville on The Overlap.
“When I went to the match, I had a meeting with the King of Spain and someone came and said there is a problem with some entrances with the fans. We didn’t know how serious that was back then, because UEFA does not have jurisdiction outside the stadium. The French police did not communicate with us.
“Trust me, there is not a single person in UEFA who is not terribly sorry, and the main topic of conversation is how to make sure that it does not happen again. Thank God, nothing terrible happened.
“We have to have better communication with the local authorities because in London (at the Euro 2021 final) again it was not UEFA who should protect outside the stadium, it was local police and, obviously, not very successfully.
“We are doing everything we can and we will not let it happen again.”
On UEFA’s blame of ticketless fans, Ceferin added: “It was hard to check what was right and what was wrong, we got some strange information. I really didn’t know the scale of the thing that was happening.”
UEFA have since reimbursed all Liverpool supporters who attended the game but their plan to do the same for Real Madrid fans was met with resistance from the Spanish side, who argued that the price of a ticket could not make up for what happened.
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