UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin
London (AFP) - UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has promised to ensure there will never be a repeat of the chaotic scenes that marred last season’s Champions League final in Paris.
An independent report published last month found European football’s governing body was primarily responsible for serious congestion problems outside the Stade de France prior to Real Madrid’s 1-0 win against Liverpool.
Thousands of Liverpool fans were penned in against perimeter fences and tear-gassed by police.
Liverpool fans are set to have their tickets refunded and UEFA’s general secretary Theodore Theodoridis has apologised to those affected by events in Paris.
Now Ceferin, speaking in an interview on former England defender Gary Neville’s The Overlap channel, has made it clear there must never be a similar incident.
“First of all I can say that I feel sorry for what happened and we will make sure that it doesn’t happen anymore. That’s the most important thing for me,” he said.
“When I was at the match, I remember I had a meeting with the King of Spain and my people came into the room and said, ‘Something urgent had happened’. I went out and they say there is a problem with an entrance or some entrances for the fans.
“We didn’t know how serious that was back then because UEFA does not have jurisdiction outside the stadium. There is French police and they didn’t communicate with us.
“It was a difficult situation and look, trust me there is not a single person in UEFA who is not terribly sorry that those things happen. Probably this is the main topic at UEFA how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
This season’s Champions League final is at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, while the 2024 showpiece will be staged at Wembley, which was the scene of crowd disturbances prior to the 2021 European Championship final between Italy and England.
“We’ll try to speak with the local authorities more and they learn a lot as well,” Ceferin said.
“They would understand and wouldn’t underestimate the situation. We have a team there all the time and they report. Thank God nothing terrible happened.”
Inter Milan on Wednesday demanded UEFA investigate why around 1,000 of their supporters were not allowed into Porto’s stadium to watch their Champions League match on Tuesday.
They were corralled into a cramped tunnel near the away end and Inter blasted the handling of the situation as exposing their fans, including children, to “potential danger”.