Liverpool are “hugely disappointed” an independent review into the chaotic scenes at May’s Champions League final has been leaked.
UEFA commissioned a team led by Portuguese Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues to look into events at the Stade de France, where dangerous congestion problems saw kick-off delayed, fans locked out and heavy-handed Paris police tear-gas supporters.
European football’s governing body initially aimed to publish its report by the end of November but that did not happen and no date was confirmed as to when it might be released.
It is understood to be set for publication on Tuesday but a number of reports on Monday evening revealed UEFA’s failings and how close tragedy came ahead of the May 28 European showpiece.
“It’s hugely disappointing that a report of such significance, such importance to football supporters’ lives and future safety, should be leaked and published in this way,” a Liverpool statement read.
“It’s been over eight months of work by the independent panel and it is only right and proper to publish the contents of the report to our supporters appropriately.
“We will await to receive a copy of the report and digest it thoroughly before making any further comment.”
Rodrigues visited Merseyside last year to gather information and take statements from the club and organised supporters’ groups for the review.
The PA news agency understands in one meeting Rodrigues was reduced to tears by fans recounting their stories of events at the Stade de France and the parallels they drew with the 1989 Hillsborough disaster – which some of those being questioned had direct experience of – where 97 Liverpool fans died.
Reports circulated on Monday over the findings of the review with no evidence produced to support the claims made by UEFA and the French authorities that ticketless Liverpool fans had attempted to gain entry into the match.
Instead, it was deemed “remarkable” that no lives were lost and the actions of Liverpool supporters were “instrumental” to preventing a disaster, with the final delayed by 36 minutes.
The UEFA-commission review, as reported by the Metro, reads: “Assertions regarding huge numbers of ticketless supporters, and those with fake tickets, have been wrongly inflated and have been stated as fact, to deflect responsibility for the planning and operational failures.”
It continues: “The collective actions of Liverpool FC supporters were probably instrumental in protecting vulnerable people and averting what might well have been more serious injuries and deaths.
“It is remarkable that no-one lost their life.”
Rodrigues’ review is reported to have been critical of UEFA, its safety and security unit, the French Football Federation, Paris Police, French ministers and Government officials.
The final had been set to be hosted by the Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February saw it moved to Paris.