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 hit by serious incidents in front of the Stade de France. Poor management of spectator flows between the RER station and the venue, breakdowns at the entrances to the venue, the presence of counterfeit tickets, attacks … The pre-match became a nightmare for thousands of Liverpool fans , many of whom are children and adolescents. who came as a family to Paris to support the Reds.
Four weeks later and although the controversy over the organization and intervention of the police has not abated, several of these young supporters have described this traumatic experience on the spot. Athletic UK .
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“It was the best gift I could have ever dreamed of”
A Liverpool fan since he was a child, Maxwell Pearce, 11, said: “We were sprayed with tear gas and I still don’t understand why.. Everyone was yelling at me asking me to come down and cover my face with my scarf. I had no idea what was going on. Everyone had itchy eyes. Everyone coughed.»
“You have trouble breathing. You can feel it on your lips. I tried to wash my eyes with my bottle of water, 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 fan for whom this Parisian weekend was “the greatest gifthe could dream.
More than three weeks later, he is still suffering from shortness of breath and shortness of breath. He consulted a doctor and the diagnosis is clear: tear gas burned his nostrils. Traumatized, Maxwell is not sure he wants to “Come back to France one day”explaining that in Liverpool, everyone is “Friendly and welcoming”.
“When tear gas was released, I thought I had fallen from a helicopter. I heard a helicopter above us.”
Elliot Anderson, 9, another traumatized child
“I just wanted to be with my mom”
Carlos Clemente, 9, was also gassed in Saint-Denis. He had told his school friends that he was going to see the final in Paris. Everything was in place for a magical experience. He attended his first match at Anfield at the age of six.
“I thought a bomb had exploded. I was scared because I couldn’t breathe properly and I’ve never had problems like this before. Carlos points out. I asked my father:Who did this?“And he told me it was the police. I was scared because I always thought the police were good people to help us.”
“I didn’t know what tear gas was until my father told me a few days laterexplains Mohamed Salah’s fan who is grateful to the kind Liverpool fan who lent him a mask and water. My eyes stung and I cried a lot. Once the bomb fell in front of my dad and dropped. I was afraid. I just wanted to be with my mom. She called my dad and I cried for her, telling her I was scared. I jumped into my dad’s arms. I wanted him to hug me.»
“I’ve been going to the stadium since I was six and it was definitely the scariest experience. It was all 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 over and over again, even when we were on the ground. It was like they had a new toy and used it for fun.”
“People were hit, the teenager continues. I saw pictures of Hillsborough (editor’s note, tragedy that happened in 1989 in Sheffield) and I felt like I was like them. There was a time when they were pushing us towards a concrete pillar and I thought we were going to fall into it. I was afraid. People were shouting, ‘It’s like Hillsborough‘. “
Noel’s family was crushed and crammed into the underpass as they approached the stadium. “My dad has a sore back and I put my arm around him, but he was squashing. He was in agony but he had to. The next day we were at the airport, I never felt so much pain. With “I can barely breathe. I think with the pressure, the crushing, I must have hurt my ribs a lot.” details the boy for whom the human death of this fiasco is a miracle. I am surprised that no one was seriously injured or, worse, killed. “