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UEFA group claim – what it means for fans

Posted on 12 October 2022

Leigh Day is investigating a group action against UEFA on behalf of Liverpool fans regarding the events surrounding the Champions League final in Paris. Here, solicitors Colin Murphy and Charlie Holt explain what this means for fans.

What happened at the Champions League Final 2022?

Paris played host to one of the most prestigious and internationally renowned sporting events on 28th May 2022, the Champions League Final 2022. A clash between two titans of football, Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF, the game was set to be the pinnacle of the football calendar. However, events on the pitch were quickly overshadowed by those off.

People attending the Champions League Final claim that adults, children, and those with disabilities, were herded and indiscriminately tear gassed. Supporters were crushed against barriers and turnstiles, which remained closed. In addition, criminal gangs are said to have taken advantage of the disorder to threaten and steal from fans.

What is Leigh Day’s involvement?

Leigh Day was approached shortly after the Final by several Liverpool fans who had attended the game and had been exposed to tear gas. They wanted the horror of their experience to be recognised and those responsible held to account. Leigh Day is working to achieve this for our clients. Since this time, more voices have come forward and the cries for accountability grow ever louder.

Find out more about the claim

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Why is accountability important?

Football has long been regarded as a sport which unifies and brings people together. In gathering to celebrate their clubs, all fans should, as a minimum, be allowed to gather in a safe and secure environment. Serious failures in the organisation of the Final compromised this.

Early reports, driven by a misconceived and outdated perception of English football fans, sought to place blame on Liverpool fans travelling without tickets. However, they have since been completely exonerated. Investigations into the true cause of the chaotic events continue. It is hoped that UEFA’s own independent report, due in November 2022, will be transparent and ensure accountability.

Those affected by the events, and indeed the wider public, deserve not merely an allocation of blame for what happened, but a commitment to be better and reassurance that lessons have been learned so that the events witnessed Final will not be repeated again. 

Who will decide who is responsible?

Despite Leigh Day’s intention to bring a claim in the courts of England, as the event took place in France, it appears likely that French law will determine who is legally responsible for what occurred.

Since Leigh Day was initially approached, we have been working with leading Counsel and experts in French law to establish the strongest claim for our clients. 

Leigh Day understands that, under French law, event organisers are under a duty to preserve the safety and welfare of those people attending the event.  

Who can join the claim?

When fans purchased a ticket for the Champions League Final, they entered a contract with UEFA. Leigh Day intends to use this contract to establish claims in England.

Leigh Days’ client’s include victims of physical injuries; tear gassing, crushing and assaults. Leigh Day also represents those fans who were traumatised in what was a truly terrifying situation.

Any person living in England and Wales, who suffered injury at the Champions League Final, and who purchased a ticket directly from UEFA, Liverpool F.C or Real Madrid C.F is eligible to join the claim.

In the context of the Champions League Final, Leigh Day alleges that, by UEFA’s control and regulation, they assumed the role of event organiser and so they had a duty to ensure the safety and welfare of those attending the Final.

Investigations into the events that transpired are still ongoing and evidence gathering continues, but, based on initial reports,  poor crowd control management appears to have compromised safety. This in turn could constitute a breach of the duty owed by UEFA giving rise to a legal liability. 

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