Four weeks after the Champions League final fiasco, several young English fans have recounted the traumatic experience.
On May 28, 2022, the big football party expected for the Champions League final was marred by serious incidents in front of the Stade de France. Poor management of spectator flows between the RER station and the enclosure, malfunctions at the entrances to the enclosure, presence of counterfeit tickets, attacks… The pre-match turned into a nightmare for thousands of Liverpool supporters, many of whom children and teenagers who came as a family to Paris to support the Reds.
Four weeks later and while the controversy over the organization and the intervention of the police does not calm down, several of these young supporters recounted this traumatic experience to the site The Athletic UK .
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“It was the best gift I could have dreamed of”
A Liverpool supporter from an early age, 11-year-old Maxwell Pearce said: “We were sprayed with tear gas, and I still don’t understand why.. Everyone was yelling at me asking me to get down and cover my face with my scarf. I had no idea what was going on. Everyone had itchy eyes. Everyone was coughing.»
“You have trouble breathing. You can feel it on your lips. I tried to wash my eyes with my water bottle, but I didn’t have enough water. I panicked because I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I was poisoned. I really thought I was going to die.” continues the young supporter for whom this Parisian weekend was “the greatest gifthe could dream of.
More than three weeks later, he is still suffering from breathing and breathing problems. He consulted a doctor and the diagnosis is clear: tear gas burned his nostrils. Traumatized, Maxwell isn’t sure he wants “return to France one day”explaining that in Liverpool, everyone is “friendly and welcoming”.
“When the tear gas was thrown, I thought it was dropped from a helicopter. I could hear a helicopter above us”
Elliot Anderson, 9, another traumatized child
“I just wanted to be with my mother”
Carlos Clemente, 9, was also gassed in Saint-Denis. He had told his friends at school that he was going to watch the final in Paris. Everything was in place for a magical experience. He attended his first game at Anfield aged six.
“I thought a bomb had gone off. I was scared because I couldn’t breathe properly, and I had never experienced problems like this before, Carlos points out. I asked my father:Who did that ?“and he told me it was the police. I was scared because I always believed the police were good people to help us.”
‘I didn’t know what tear gas was until my dad told me a few days laterexplains the fan of Mohamed Salah who thanks the kind Liverpool supporter who lent him a mask and water. My eyes were stinging and I was crying a lot. Once the bomb landed in front of my father and he fell. I was afraid. I just wanted to be with my mother. She phoned my dad and I cried for her, telling her I was scared. I jumped into my father’s arms. I wanted him to hug me.»
“I’ve been going to the stadium since I was six years old and it was definitely the scariest experience. Everything was scary. I felt trapped. »
Roman Renoldi, 11, another traumatized child
“It was like Hillsborough”
Noel, 14, suffered a serious eye injury that night: “they (law enforcement) sprayed us again and again, even when we were on the ground. It was like they had a new toy and they were using us for fun.”
“People were getting run over, continues the teenager. I saw pictures of Hillsborough (editor’s note, drama that occurred in 1989 in Sheffield) and I had the impression of being like them. There was a moment when we were being pushed towards a concrete pillar and I thought we were going to fall on it. I was afraid. People were shouting: ‘It’s like Hillsborough‘.”
Noel’s family were among those crushed and huddled in the underpass as they approached the stadium. “My dad has a bad back and I put my arm around him but he was getting crushed. I was in agony but I had to do it. The next day we were at the airport, I have never felt such pain. I could barely breathe. I think that with the pressure, the crushing, I must have hurt my ribs a lot”, details the boy for whom the human toll of this fiasco is a miracle. I am amazed that no one was seriously injured or, even worse, killed.”
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