UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said that the governing body is “terribly sorry” for the chaos that engulfed last season’s Champions League final - and initially blaming Liverpool supporters for the distressing scenes outside Stade de France.
Last week the governing body announced that Liverpool supporters would be refunded the cost of their tickets after an independent report laid the blame at the feet of UEFA and local authorities.
Thousands of fans entered a dangerous bottle neck outside the stadium before Liverpool faced Real Madrid. Overzealous police used tear gas on innocent fans who were unable to enter to pass through turnstiles, while local youths behaved violently and attempted to gain access to the stadium without tickets.
A French government minister had insisted in the days after the final that the issues were caused by Liverpool fans turning up without tickets on a “massive and industrial" scale but the independent inquiry found no evidence of that as the said UEFA were primarily responsible for the trouble.
In an upcoming interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap, Ceferin accepted UEFA’s failings but levelled significant criticism at the door of French police who “did not communicate with us” and said that they will do everything possible to ensure there is no repeat of the scenes at future finals
Ceferin said: “I feel sorry for what happened and we will make sure that it doesn’t happen again, that’s the most important thing for me.
“When I went to the match, I had a meeting with the King of Spain and someone came and said there is a problem with some entrances with the fans. We didn’t know how serious that was back then, because UEFA does not have jurisdiction outside the stadium. The French police did not communicate with us.
“Trust me, there is not a single person in UEFA who is not terribly sorry, and the main topic of conversation is how to make sure that it does not happen again. Thank God, nothing terrible happened.
“We have to have better communication with the local authorities because in London [at the Euro 2021 final] again it was not UEFA who should protect outside the stadium, it was local police and, obviously, not very successfully.
“We are doing everything we can and we will not let it happen again.”
Ceferin went on to say that UEFA’s initial statement blaming ticketless fans for the crush outside the ground was “a mistake from our side”. He added: “It was hard to check what was right and what was wrong, we got some strange information. I really didn’t know the scale of the thing that was happening.”
In the same interview, the Slovenian said that UEFA will consider changing the rules around allowing one person to own more than one club involved in their tournaments - which may remove the biggest hurdle to a Qatari takeover of Manchester United.
But his comments arrive a month after an official report from his organisation described multiclub ownership as a “material threat” to the integrity of the game.
Aleksander Ceferin was speaking on The Overlap, in partnership with Sky Bet