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UEFA apologizes to fans over ‘frightening and distressing events’ at Champions League final

European football’s governing body has apologized to fans “who had to experience or witness frightening or distressing events” at the Champions League final in Paris last weekend, and said it will hold an inquiry into what happened.

In a statement, UEFA said that “no football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again.”

UEFA said it had commissioned an “independent review” to “identify shortcomings and responsibilities of all entities involved in the organisation of the final.” It said that fans who attended the game will be able to fill in a questionnaire about their experiences.

Earlier Friday, Real Madrid demanded “answers and explanations” for the mayhem that tarnished the showpiece game.

Fans of both Real Madrid and Liverpool were crushed, pepper-sprayed and beaten by French police, amid chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France that saw kickoff delayed by 35 minutes and “caused outrage around the world,” Real Madrid said in a statement.

One official connected to Real Madrid told POLITICO the club was particularly “shocked and disappointed” by the French government’s instant blaming of Liverpool fans for the chaos.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra claimed Liverpool fans had attempted to use around 30,000-40,000 fake tickets to gain entry to the stadium. The New York Times later reported that the true total number of fake tickets at the game was 2,589.

Liverpool vociferously objected to Darmanin and Oudéa-Castéra’s line of argument, given echoes of how Liverpool fans were treated by the British establishment in the aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which killed 97 people.

Real Madrid has joined the chorus of criticism over the logistical failures in Paris after some days of gathering testimony and witness accounts.

“We ask for answers and explanations that determine who was responsible for leaving the fans helpless and defenseless. Some followers whose general behavior was at all times exemplary,” the club said.

“Our followers and fans deserve a response and that the relevant responsibilities be cleared up so that situations like the ones experienced are eradicated forever from football and sport,” it added.

Real Madrid won the match 1-0, thanks to a second-half goal from Vinícius Júnior.

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