CHAOS at the Champions League final: Kick-off is delayed with fans stuck in bottlenecks

Chaos outside the Stade de France has marred the Champions League final build-up, with kick-off now pushed back by 36 minutes as fans struggle to get in.

It has been reported that hundreds of supporters were able to force their way through screening outside the ground in Paris, and are unlikely to have tickets. While they may not be inside the stadium, they will have access to its surroundings.

Tens of thousands missed out on bagging tickets for the highly-anticipated showdown tonight, and it is believed many have headed to the capital regardless.

And it appears that, amid unsightly scenes, troublemakers have managed to break through security gates and past the police officers safeguarding the event.

It was revealed recently that both Liverpool and Real Madrid received just 20,000 tickets each for the showpiece, despite the venue holding a capacity of 80,000.

Numerous reporters around the stadium have said they have been told by supporters that they have been waiting for two or more hours to get past security.

A bottleneck is also said to have built up on the way to Gate U, and issues with public transport across Paris also disrupted the journeys for many fans throughout the day.

Indeed, RMC have claimed that at the entrance to Gate U, several supporters were set to pass through the first screening, before people pushing led to movement in the crowd. That was controlled by the police, but several repeats have happened.

The publication say that any form of filtering has now ‘disappeared’. 

Sportsmail‘s Rob Draper has taken to social media to explain the situation. 

‘Sad to relate it’s chaos outside, police funnelling fans into dangerously narrow routes – because their vans are parked blocking the pavement,’ he posted on Twitter.

‘Dangerous crush building up behind… when you get through it’s worse, channelled away from walkways. Now crowd building up trying to get to ticket checks. You literally can’t get to front to show ticket as it’s so narrow and so many people…’

Another video online shows a line of police officers moving beyond a steady shuffle of people, although the caption alleges that Madrid fans were ‘attacked’. 

As a result of the issues, concern is rising that not every supporter will have taken their seat around the stands before the final gets underway at 8:00pm BST. 

Speaking to AP while queuing, a fan said: ‘It’s absolutely horrendous. 

‘There’s a bottleneck down there and there’s literally a six-foot gap for maybe 20,000 Liverpool fans to get in.

‘We are absolutely being pushed from pillar to post. I have an 82-year-old father in law here. It’s just madness. I’m really sorry but there are just thousands behind us.’

Gary Lineker said the chaos outside the venue was ‘carnage’.

He tweeted: ‘Finding it impossible to get in the ground. This appears to be very dangerous. Absolute carnage.’ 

The Associated Press have reported that two fans, one of which was wearing Liverpool attire, was wrestled to the ground by stewards and bundled out the gates.

Another supporter evaded stewards and was seen sprinting through the concourse.

Further footage on social media has showed fans climbing over fences, too.

Around 15 minutes before the scheduled kick-off, an announcement was made that there would be a delay because of the late arrival of fans to the stadium. 

Shortly after, the French police told supporters ‘do not force entry’ at the ground. 

The Telegraph report that ‘painfully slow’ security checks led to a ‘major’ bottleneck.

The publication say that police set by blocks with their vans on an approach to the ground, in an attempt to slow the flow of fans moving to their ticket and bag checks. 

In a concerning development, tear gas has been used on supporters.

Peter Moore, the former Liverpool chief executive, labelled the scenes as ‘disgraceful’, and dismissed UEFA’s claim was due to the late arrival of fans.

UEFA have released another statement, meanwhile, in which they have said that the match has been delayed for ‘security reasons’ – instead of other issues.

Marvin Matip, the brother of Liverpool defender Joel, told Sky Sport Germany: ‘The organisation around and in the stadium is unworthy of a Champions League final. Using tear gas in areas with children and uninvolved fans is dangerous!’

Reporter Florian Plettenberg said that Marvin Matip, his wife, who is pregnant, and family were forced to flee the ground and and hide in a restaurant from tear gas.

Sportsmail‘s Dominic King, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said: ‘I have been back out to turnstile Y which is right behind the Liverpool end. I have spoken to a number of them about their experiences. They have been pepper sprayed by the French police. 

‘There are kids in the queue, old people in the queue. they have been there two hours.

‘It came from nowhere. The anger the people feel in terms of how they have been treated… I need to get this point over. There has been no violence or antagonism they are just dismayed by how the authorities have treated them.

‘The anger of the people I have spoken to is like nothing I have experienced. It is a failing of the authorities and police with how they are being looked after outside.

‘There have been some fans that have tried to get in, I’d be disingenuous to say that was not the case but not like groups or anything like Wembley. This treatment is entirely in one direction.’

The incidents are reminiscent of the chaos outside Wembley before the Euro 2020 final last year between England and Italy.