The Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris was delayed on Saturday with UEFA citing the “late arrival of fans at the stadium” for the decision to postpone the 9 p.m. CET kick-off time.
UEFA announced the delay at 8:46 p.m. CET before saying that a further announcement would be made within a maximum of 15 minutes. The final was then further delayed, until 9:36 p.m. CET, with UEFA citing “security reasons.”
Video footage on social media highlighted large crowds of supporters outside the Stade de France in the build-up to the game, with thousands of Liverpool fans unable to access the stadium, leaving vast swathes of their section empty less than half an hour before the fixture was due to start.
In contrast, the Real Madrid section was virtually full almost an hour before the game.
Sources have told ESPN that fans had been forced to wait outside as police attempted to control access to the stadium.
ESPN spoke to fans outside the stadium after the scheduled kick-off time and some showed match tickets for the game which should have secured their entry.
A young female supporter, with tears in her eyes, complained of being sprayed with pepper gas by riot police and ESPN witnessed and filmed a subsequent incident of fans being sprayed.
While they queued outside, the Liverpool supporters were calm and well-behaved as they waited to be allowed into the stadium.
In a statement, French police said “Supporters attempted to penetrate the stadium. They forced their way through the first filter. The screening at the Stade de France is watertight.
“We have intervened to push back fans trying to force their way through,” they added.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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