A BBC reporter was pepper-sprayed outside the Stade de France as all hell broke loose ahead of Saturday night’s Champions League final.
The meeting at the stadium, on the outskirts of Paris, was supposed to get underway at 8pm GMT but the kick-off was delayed by over 30 minutes as thousands of fans were unable to enter the stadium. A number of fans began tweeting in the hour before kick-off that huge queues meant they were unable to enter the ground.
The large queues formed shortly after the Liverpool team bus was caught up in traffic. The Liverpool end was noticeably patchy less than half an hour before kick-off as supporters struggled to get in with multiple fans caught up in the queues sharing photographs of locked gates of the stadium, with a bottle-neck of fans building up around the streets.
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
BBC Journalist Nick Parrott, who was outside the ground in a personal capacity and had been caught up in the chaos, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I have just been pepper-sprayed for the first time in my life. I have been to the Champions League final before and I have never been pepper-sprayed before.
“I was outside Gate Y which has been opening and closing repeatedly over the last hour and a half but nobody has been going through. The security staff on the other side advanced and sprayed pepper spray.
“I have seen 10 fans trying to climb over fences. Gate Z is open but there does not seem to be any movement going in. I have never seen this sort of chaos at any match I have been to in a personal capacity.
“The Liverpool fans are trying to move themselves back from these gates to try and get in but the authorities seem to be doing nothing. I came to get into the stadium at seven o’clock.
“I got through the outer perimeter where there is crushing. I came round in good time and it was quite clear that we were not going to get in before nine o’clock.”
Including the thousands of Reds fans who were caught up in the queues, Match of the Day presenter Lineker confirmed he too could not access the stadium. The former striker tweeted 16 minutes before the original scheduled 8pm kick-off time: “Finding it impossible to get in the ground. This appears to be very dangerous. Absolute carnage.”
He went on to post 23 minutes later, with thousands of fans still stuck outside the ground at 8:10pm GMT: “I’m not sure it’s possible to have a more poorly organised event if you tried. Absolutely shambolic and dangerous. @UEFAcom”. And then immediately wrote: “They’ve just announced another 15-minute delay “because of the late arrival of fans”. Utter b*******.”