The 2022 Champions League Final was a nightmare for many of the supporters who showed up to see one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Negligence and incompetence by the organizers of the final, especially UEFA, European football’s governing body, made it impossible for many fans to make it into Stade de France before kickoff. Those who were stuck outside were bullied by police and local gangs.
In the end, many were never able to even make it into the ground, and even those who were able to get inside the gates were left physically and mentally scarred by their experience. Instead of taking responsibility for the shambolic organization, those in power took turns shifting blame to anyone other than themselves. Mostly, they tried to lay the blame at the feet of Liverpool fans.
With the majority of people acutely aware that the failings of the final fall squarely at the feet of the organizers, the BBC is reporting that two law firms representing more than 1800 supporters are preparing to file lawsuits against UEFA for ‘breach of contract in ticket sales and negligence over a duty of care they had towards supporters, who were harmed physically and psychologically.’
Gerard Long of Binghams Solicitors in Liverpool, who are filing suit on behalf of 1450 fans, cited the trauma his friends, family, and fellow fans experienced at the final as the reason for the suit.
“As a life-long Liverpool fan, I was absolutely horrified when I heard how events unfolded at what should have been the highlight of the football season,” said Long. “Not only fellow fans, but my friends, family, and clients who were in attendance that day have spoken of the terrifying scenes that surrounded the Stade de France before, and even after, the game.”
Another firm, Leigh Day, is preparing a suit on behalf of a further 400 fans for UEFA’s ‘failure to provide a safe and secure environment.’
“It was truly shocking to see how Liverpool fans and others who had traveled to watch the Champions League final were treated both at the match and in the aftermath,” said spokespeople for Leigh Day. “The accounts of their experiences paint a picture of a terrifying situation where people really feared for their lives.”
There’s no telling how high the chances are that the lawsuits will be successful, but any attempts to try and force UEFA to take responsibility and make amends for their failures can only be seen as a good thing. If nothing else, the suits should continue to bring attention to UEFA’s blame-shifting and lead to deeper investigations into their attempts to cover up the true causes of the horrific conditions outside the Stade de France.