Henderson: Champions League final chaos must be 'watershed' moment

By Sports Desk August 14, 2022

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson hopes the unsavoury off-field scenes that marred last season's Champions League final in Paris will represent a "watershed" moment in the treatment of football fans.

Henderson started as Liverpool fell to a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid at the Stade de France in May, a loss that ended their hopes of adding to an EFL Cup and FA Cup double.

However, the match was overshadowed by violent scenes as supporters were targeted with pepper spray and tear gas outside the stadium, leading both clubs to call for an investigation.

While authorities originally blamed English fans' use of fake tickets for the disruption, both interior minister Gerald Darmanin and Paris police chief Didier Lallement have since apologised for those claims.

UEFA announced the commissioning of an independent investigation into the causes of the security failings just one day after the match, and Henderson believes steps must be taken to ensure a repeat never occurs.

"I always go into the new season not wanting to dwell too much on whatever happened in the previous one – for better or worse – but there is one element that I do want to look back on and that is the treatment of our fans in Paris," he wrote in his programme notes ahead of Liverpool's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.

"I know there is an inquiry going on at the minute, so I don't want to say too much at this stage, but there is a basic principle that needs to be agreed on by all involved in football and that is that football supporters should always be taken care of.

"That is absolutely non-negotiable. Safety and security shouldn't be asked for or campaigned for, they should be a given and in Paris this was not the case. 

"All of the players and staff had family and friends who were caught up in the problems outside the stadium, so we are all well aware of what went on and what went wrong. 

"The only conclusion that anyone can come to is that something like that can never happen again.

"I'm not just speaking for our supporters here either. Every single football fan needs to know that when they go to a match, the authorities will look after them.

"For that to happen, Paris needs to be a watershed. It has to be a moment that brings about change for the better. Nothing else is acceptable."

UEFA's review of events at the final remains ongoing, while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp declared his hope that findings "are getting closer" in July.

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