Uefa has confirmed that all 19,618 Liverpool fans who bought tickets from the club’s allocation for last May’s Champions League final are eligible for a refund after the chaos that marred the match in Paris.
On February 13th Uefa promised to open a “special refund scheme for fans” who attended the final, in response to the damning findings of the report it commissioned into the events around the Stade de France.
The report found that Uefa bears “primary responsibility” for the catastrophic organisational and safety failures that turned the final into a horrific, traumatic experience for thousands of Liverpool and Real Madrid supporters.
General admission tickets ranged from €70 to €690 and on Tuesday Uefa confirmed details of its scheme. Refunding the 19,618 allocation of Liverpool tickets will cost Uefa about €3.4 million.
“The special refund scheme covers all of the Liverpool FC ticket allocation for the final, ie 19,618 tickets,” Uefa said. It said it would “reimburse Liverpool FC the total value of these tickets and the club will then process the refunds to its supporters”.
Three law firms representing almost 3,000 Liverpool supporters caught up in the disorganisation have previously told Uefa that legal action will be taken unless more substantial compensation than a ticket refund is paid. They argue that the fans are entitled to compensation for their physical and psychological injuries under French law.
Some Madrid fans who bought tickets via their club and some spectators who purchased tickets from the 12,000 available outside the club allocations will also be eligible for a refund. Uefa said those fans would need to meet its refund criteria, which were spelt out in a statement. It said the scheme was designed to cover those “most affected when accessing the Stade de France”.
“Refunds will be available to all fans with tickets for gates A, B, C, X, Y and Z where the most difficult circumstances were reported,” it said. “In addition, all fans who according to the access control data did not enter the stadium before 21:00 CEST (the originally scheduled kick-off time), or who were not able to enter the stadium at all, will be eligible for a refund. Finally, Uefa will offer refunds to all fans who purchased accessibility tickets along with those of their accompanying persons.”
Uefa’s general secretary, Theodore Theodoridis, said: “We have taken into account a huge number of views expressed both publicly and privately and we believe we have devised a scheme that is comprehensive and fair.” He said Uefa recognised “the negative experiences of those supporters on the day”.
Fans experienced access delays, congestion, crushing, turnstile closures, brutal policing and criminal attacks by local groups. Uefa said anyone who had been the victim of crimes committed in Paris could report their case to the relevant French authorities.
The Football Supporters’ Association’s chief executive, Kevin Miles, said: “Uefa’s announcement of the ticket refunds is both unprecedented and hugely welcome, and builds concretely on the apology they extended to Liverpool fans earlier. Both Spirit of Shankly and the Liverpool Disabled Supporters’ Association deserve enormous credit for the way that they have pressed the case of Liverpool fans affected by the events in Paris.”
Spirit of Shankly and the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association also welcomed the move and said: “With a promise to reimburse supporters, Uefa have gone some way to acknowledging their part in the fiasco. But it does not excuse Uefa, exempt them from criticism or lessen the need for them to implement all of the recommendations made by the independent inquiry.”