This week’s release of the findings of UEFA’s independent review of the disastrous 2022 UEFA Champions League final has prompted a whole new series of questions and statements about the failures of that night at the Stade de France.
Naturally, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has many thoughts about that night, and he hasn’t balked at making them known when asked about the final. Shortly after the findings were released, he echoed the report in praising the Liverpool fans for keeping cool heads and preventing the catastrophic scenes at and outside the turnstiles from turning fatal.
Today, the German manager admitted he’d had worries about the final taking place at Stade de France from the moment UEFA announced that Paris would fill in as host after the final had been taken away from St. Petersburg in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He thought a final being organized on short notice should happen at a stadium used to frequently hosting huge crowds rather than one which is primarily used for occasional national team matches.
“I think really Paris was the worst possible [choice] in that specific area on that day,” said Klopp.
“Not a stadium that is used to it every two weeks like a lot of big stadiums in Europe are, big cities in Europe where they play every two weeks. It could have gone to Wembley, I don’t know when it was last time so maybe that doesn’t work but it’s a special situation. It could have gone to Berlin.
“Okay, Madrid [Santiago Bernabeu] is in a rebuild but other places are probably available. From the first moment, I thought it was not a good idea. But in the end, this specific place could have been organized much better than it was.”
While Klopp clearly holds UEFA responsible to a degree, he seems to lay most of the blame at the feet of the on-the-ground organizers. In his mind, they simply weren’t prepared to host such a large crowd, and using so many volunteers to operate an event of this scale was a mistake.
“In the moment UEFA makes the decision, I think they make it because they think it’s right, what other reason would it be? And then some people who work there should have done better because everybody who was there knows that the people who work there didn’t know 100% what they were doing.
“They were not used to these big crowds, you cannot work with volunteers on a day like this when so many people arrive, volunteers for the first time or second time or whatever. You need experienced people and then it can be a great day but this day, obviously, it was different.”