Law firm investigates Stade de France group claim on behalf of Liverpool fans
5 - 10,000 affected people may be able to join the claim
Law firm Leigh Day is investigating a group claim legal action on behalf of Liverpool FC fans and others who attended the UEFA Champions League final at the Stade de France in Paris on 28 May 2022.
Match-goers faced chaos before and after the game as poor preparation, numerous organisational failings and – it has been alleged – underlying prejudice culminated in a frightening situation and scenes which caused concern around the world.
A hearing of the French Senate heard people of all ages were herded, indiscriminately tear gassed and crushed against barriers and turnstiles which remained closed. Criminal gangs are also said to have taken advantage of the disorder to threaten and steal from fans.
Many attendees reportedly sustained physical injuries and many more are thought to have suffered psychological injuries from the incident.
Leigh Day said it had been contacted by a number of fans and is investigating a potential group claim against UEFA for those living in England and Wales who suffered physical or psychological injuries at the football match. The firm believes 5 - 10,000 people could be affected and would be able to join the claim.
While the claim would be brought under French law, Leigh Day intends to bring the claim in England. It will allege UEFA failed to ensure a safe and secure environment for match attendees.
French authorities initially attempted to blame fans, and in particular Liverpool FC fans, for the overcrowding and clashes. They claimed thousands had travelled to the stadium with counterfeit tickets or had arrived late. They also said others who travelled to the stadium and surrounding areas without tickets also caused overcrowding.
However, a report by the French Senate released on 13 July 2022 completely exonerated fans and identified serious collective failures in the organisation of the event, including the use of blocking tactics usually reserved for antiterrorism operations, a failure to anticipate transport flows on the night, and problems with pre-screening checks and digital tickets.
When releasing the report, Senate inquiry co-chairman Laurent Lafon is reported to have said: “Liverpool supporters wanting to support their team are not responsible for what happened. The number of people around the stadium did not cause all the chaos. We know these fans travel en masse, that was foreseen.
“Every authority was acting on their own without co-operating, and that means nobody really felt they were responsible for anything. This was a chain of administrative errors. It is clear that the arguments put forward by the minister of the interior Gérald Darmanin, including that there was a massive ticket forgery, are not the cause of the problems at this match.”
Consumer and travel law experts Clare Campbell and Jill Paterson are leading Leigh Day’s team investigating the Stade de France claims. They said: “Supporters who had paid to watch a football match at the highest level of the game should have been able to expect that robust safety protocols and adequate risk assessments would be put in place by UEFA, sadly this does not appear to be the case.
“We believe UEFA failed to provide a safe and secure environment for those attending and we are investigating their legal liability to those who suffered injuries as a result.
“It was truly shocking to see how Liverpool fans and others who had travelled to watch the Champions League final were treated both at the match and in the aftermath. The accounts of their experiences paint a picture of a terrifying situation where people really feared for their lives.”