UEFA issued a statement today opening with a partial apology to supporters affected by the dangerous conditions of last weekend’s Champions League final — though only the opening 66 words of the 449-word statement contained any apology:
UEFA wishes to sincerely apologize to all spectators who had to experience or witness frightening and distressing events in the build-up to the UEFA Champions League final at the Stade de France on 28 May 2022 in Paris, on a night which should have been a celebration of European club football. No football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again.
The apology makes no comment on events after the match, which saw many supporters of either team placed in a gauntlet of attempted robbery and violence, and also fails to acknowledge UEFA’s decision to blame the match delay on fans arriving late — a statement they likely knew was false at the time.
The bulk of the statement was not an apology, but rather a discussion of the independent inquiry they are putting in place:
To that end, immediately after the events, UEFA commissioned an Independent Review to identify shortcomings and responsibilities of all entities involved in the organisation of the final, and has today published the Terms of Reference for this review.
The Independent Review, which will be led by Dr Tiago Brandão Rodrigues from Portugal, aims at understanding what happened in the build-up to the final, and determining what lessons should be learned to ensure there is no repeat of the actions and events of that day.
The Review will seek to establish a full picture and timeline of what occurred during the day, both within the stadium and the surrounding areas, including examining spectator flows to the stadium via the various access points.
It will also examine all relevant operational plans related to security, mobility, ticketing, as well as others at the discretion of the chairman of the Review, and will examine the planning and preparedness of the involved entities for the staging of the final, including at additional sites such as the Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF fan meeting points.
The Independent Review aims to identify any issues or gaps in the implementation and running of operations and assess the roles and responsibilities of all the entities involved and the adequacy of their response to events, in order to make recommendations on best practices for the future for UEFA and the relevant stakeholders.
The Review will engage with UEFA and all relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to, fan groups including Football Supporters Europe as well as those of the two finalist clubs; the finalist clubs themselves; general spectators; the French Football Federation; the Police and other public national and local authorities, and the stadium operator.
Further information on how relevant parties can submit their testimonies (via a dedicated email address or an online questionnaire) will be communicated shortly.
The findings of the Review, conclusions, and recommendations will be set out in detail in the Report and will be those of Dr. Tiago Brandão Rodrigues and the experts who will support him. The Review will start immediately and should be concluded within the shortest possible time-frame needed to produce a comprehensive review of the events.
Once completed, the Report will be published by UEFA on www.uefa.com in the interests of transparency.
While acknowledging the questions from both Real Madrid, Liverpool FC, and many French senators is a good start, the statement from UEFA fails to cover the full scope of concerns following the scenes at the Champions League final.