05.26.07

UEFA’s Curious Choice For A Champions League Final Venue

Posted in Football, Mob Behavior at 10:58 am by

From the Mirror’s Jeremy Armstrong :

Hundreds of Liverpool fans were tear gassed and baton charged as police stopped 2,000 supporters with real tickets getting into the Champions League final.

Some feared another Hillsborough tragedy amid the ugly scenes outside the Athens arena.

Phil Hammond, whose son Phil, 14, was among 96 Liverpool fans crushed to death at Hillsborough in 1989, feared the worst.

He said: “I thought of our Phil when I got in the stadium and prayed no other young lads would die outside. I texted my wife Hilda and said, ‘There is going to be another Hillsborough’.”

As the crowd, which included children, swelled police sprayed tear gas and lashed out with batons. Some supporters were even threatened with guns.

Former Tory leader Michael Howard, a keen Liverpool fan, said: “There were large numbers of fans inevitably pushing forward, worried that they weren’t going to get in.

“People said, ‘We were at Hills-borough and we are feeling exactly the same as we felt then’.”

Some of the loyal Reds had paid thousands of pounds for genuine tickets – only to be turned away from the Olympic Stadium.

Season ticket holder Robbie Annersley, 42, from Anfield, refused entry to the AC Milan final said: “We were tear-gassed when we got to the turnstiles and then I was baton charged.

“One woman was pregnant and she was gassed and knocked to the ground. The police kept saying, ‘It is not our fault, the ground is full,’ but they would not look at our tickets.”

A policeman pointed a gun at IT worker Ian Voce, 47, from Crosby. He said: “I had a genuine ticket. I paid £1,200 to get here. When the copper drew his gun on me, I decided to get out of there.”

Uefa officials were blasted for staging the final at the 71,000-seater stadium. Software engineer Brian McNance, 44, stormed: “Next year it is in Moscow and they are talking about a 50,000-seater stadium. Imagine if Liverpool and Man United get through to that? It will be chaos.”

Simon Gass, the British Ambassador in Athens, and Mersey-side police, whose officers were at the game, pledged a full investigation. But the Greek authorities said it was an “absolute success”.

On the bright side, Jason Whitlock has yet to blame hip hop for any of the ugly scenes that took place in Athens.

One Response to “UEFA’s Curious Choice For A Champions League Final Venue”

  1. matt says:

    did they ever find that 10 year old? i’ve been wringing my hands over that since 20:37 in the first half.

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