Off-Pitch Controversy Swarms Champions League Final

    • An incident prior to Saturday's UEFA Champion's League final caused French police to tear gas fans.
    • French officials blamed ticket fraud.

There was plenty of drama at Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final, much of it off the pitch.

Prior to Real Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Liverpool at the Stade de France, fans trying to force their way into the stadium area caused the match to be delayed by half an hour. French police tear-gassed fans, including children.

The unrest triggered a dispute between higher-ups.

  • French interior minister Gerald Darmanin blamed the event on “massive fraud on an industrial scale,” claiming that fans were issued “30,000 to 40,000 fake tickets.”
  • French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera specifically blamed Liverpool backers without valid tickets, saying the club let its fans “out in the wild.”
  • Liverpool chairman Tom Werner expressed outrage at Oudea-Castera’s “unproven pronouncements,” saying the events surrounding the match “were not only incredibly dangerous for all who attended, but raised serious questions about the organization and operation of the event.”

UEFA said on Monday it has commissioned an independent report on the incident and will publicize its findings when completed.

Most Valuable Victory

While the Champions League final certainly drew the most attention of any soccer match over the weekend, the stakes were arguably higher for the game between Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town on Sunday.

Forest will be promoted to the English Premier League from the English Football League Championship, following its victory. That makes the game worth an estimated $214.3 million over the next three years. Real Madrid took home $22.7 million for winning the Champions League.