The 2022 Champions League final was a disaster. Inadequate planning created chaos and heavy-handed tactics from French police led to many fans being tear-gassed and beaten. Seemingly, this was for no other reason than they were fans of Liverpool FC and the police had been conditioned to treat them as though they were hooligans set on violence and vandalism regardless of their actual actions.
Despite ill-advised attempts by a pair of high-ranking French government officials to place the blame for the chaos of the final squarely on the shoulders of Liverpool supporters, there seems to be a real effort to hold the authorities responsible for organizing the final accountable for the part they played in what turned into a very traumatic day for thousands of fans.
Unfortunately, an oversight has led to a key piece of evidence in the investigation being deleted. According to the French Football Federation, CCTV footage from the Stade de France has been deleted. Apparently, all footage is automatically deleted after seven days unless there is a request to keep it. Since no official request was made to keep the footage from the final, it was deleted per the standard procedure.
As that footage would have been very beneficial in proving that the story being pushed by the previously mentioned high-ranking government officials has no basis in reality, this is simply an unacceptable oversight at best, and a disturbing attempt to try and hide the extent of the disorganization and brutality created doled out by the authorities at worst.
Liverpool FC’s CEO, Billy Hogan, addressed the loss of this footage in his most recent update on the club’s efforts to seek accountability for the shambolic final.
Clearly, we saw the reports yesterday afternoon regarding the deletion of CCTV footage, which is deeply concerning. We have formally contacted UEFA to confirm whether or not that’s the case, so we’re waiting to hear back specifically on that. And we’re also working to make sure, through the relevant authorities to put requests in, that all evidence related to events around the final are retained.
So, clearly concerning, it’s something that we’re following up on and, as I keep saying, our priority really has to be to make sure that the independent review and investigation takes into account all the evidence. So that’s why we’ve requested that any evidence related to the final is retained.
One would think it goes without saying that when a very public investigation is being conducted into an event watched by millions across the globe, all potentially relevant evidence should be retained and handed over to investigators. Unfortunately, we live in a world where those in power and positions of authority are often more concerned with retaining that power and authority than doing the right thing and taking responsibility for their own failings and shortcomings.
The full Q&A with Hogan can be found here. In addition to speaking about LFC’s efforts to ensure a thorough, independent investigation is conducted, he also encouraged those who were present in Paris for the final to fill out the feedback form the club has released and fill out the form on the French embassy website if they have any reports of crimes that they experienced or witnessed.
Finally, he detailed how the club is doing everything in its power to support all those who are experiencing any physical, mental, or emotional distress as a result of the chaos of the final through the LFC Foundation. The Foundation has organized access to a number of mental health organizations, and anyone who is struggling with what they witnessed or experienced in Paris is strongly encouraged to make use of the support resources available.