A British investigation has accused UEFA of providing "untrue" evidence related to the chaos that occurred before the start of the 2022 Champions League final.
Chaos prevailed around the Stade de France in the French capital, Paris, which hosted the final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, where thousands of fans suffered from difficulty entering the stadium and stood in long lines, and police dealt harshly with many of them, events described by the British newspaper "The Guardian" as a "disaster".
The Guardian asserts that UEFA presented "completely untrue" evidence in its independent investigation into the events aimed at protecting UEFA's safety and security unit, headed by President Aleksander Ceferin's friend Zeljko Pavlika from criticism.
Uefa accused of presenting 'untrue' evidence to inquiry on Champions League final chaos https://t.co/oX2XDhAQkG
— The Guardian (@guardian) September 25, 2023
UEFA appointed a panel of experts to review the night's events, which later concluded that UEFA bore primary responsibility for its failure to oversee safety plans in Paris.
Later, UEFA said the failure was not only the fault of the safety and security unit headed by Zeljko Pavlika, but also the responsibility for the juvenile department headed by Sharon Burkhalter Lau because it sidelined the safety and security unit.
The Guardian asserts that Burkhalter Lau refused to recognise UEFA's evidence of his sideliness of the Safety and Security Unit, calling the information "completely untrue".
Bourkhalter Lau stressed that the root of the problem was the Paris police and rejected the accusations against his team by saying that "the allegation that the juvenile section sidelined the UEFA security unit is based on statements made by the latter that were not true."
Borkhalter Lau claims that Pavlika and his team did not attend pre-match meetings regarding safety measures for the lead-up to the start.
There's been a long delay at the Champions League Final due to fans trying to jump over fences to get in 🤦 ♂️ #UCL #UCLFinal pic.twitter.com/mt7dPRhuMm
— Sports ON Tap Brothers🎙️ (@thesportsontap) May 28, 2022
The Guardian highlighted Pavlika's testimony, which was not included in the expert panel's report, in which he said he was present on the evening of the final in the VIP area all the time, denying knowledge of the off-field crisis that caused the kick-off to be postponed for 15 minutes, then another 15 minutes.
The Guardian confirms that events outside the stadium were developing at a breakneck speed as Pavlika's team was in the stadium's control centre, and some warned of the difficulty of the matter since 17:19 Paris time via the unit's WhatsApp group.
"Burkhalter Lau's allegations raise further questions about the integrity of UEFA under Ceferin," the newspaper said in the end.
"There are serious concerns about alleged favoritism in UEFA appointments, as Pavlika and 4 other friends of Ceferin from Slovenia have been appointed to key positions," which UEFA denied, stressing that they are all "proven professionals."
The newspaper pointed out that it reached out to Burkhalter Lau to talk about what happened before that match, in addition to discussing its evidence against UEFA, but he refused to comment, and later, specifically in May 2023, Ceferin was elected by acclamation UEFA president for another 4 years.
It is noteworthy that that match, which was held on May 28, 2022, ended with Real Madrid's 1-14 victory over Liverpool scored by Brazilian Vinicius Jr., to enhance the "Merengue" record in the number of times winning the tournament (<>).