Uefa bears “primary responsibility” for the chaotic scenes that “almost led to disaster” before last year’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, says an independent report.
Fans were penned in and teargassed outside Paris’s Stade de France as kick-off was delayed by 36 minutes.
Uefa and French authorities initially blamed “industrial-scale” ticket fraud – which drew widespread criticism.
The report says there is “no evidence” to support the “reprehensible” claims.
“The panel has concluded that Uefa, as event owner, bears primary responsibility for failures which almost led to disaster,” states the report, which was commissioned by Uefa after the 28 May final.
While it said there was “contributory fault” from other bodies, the findings said European governing body Uefa was “at the wheel”.
“Uefa should have retained a monitoring and oversight role [of security], to ensure it all worked. It self-evidently did not,” the report added.
Uefa commissioned the independent report three days after the match – the showpiece of European club football which Liverpool went on to lose 1-0 – took place in the French capital.
The European governing body said a “comprehensive review” would examine a number of factors that include the decision-making, responsibility and behaviour of all parties involved in the final.
The investigation was chaired by Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues, a Portuguese politician, with the panel also including experts and consultants from legal, policing and event-management fields, along with representatives from football fan groups.
“On behalf of Uefa, I would like to apologise most sincerely once again to all those who were affected by the events that unfolded on what should have been a celebration at the pinnacle of the club season,” Uefa general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said.
“In particular, I would like to apologise to the supporters of Liverpool for the experiences many of them had when attending the game and for the messages released prior to and during the game which had the effect of unjustly blaming them for the situation leading to the delayed kick-off.”
What have Liverpool and fans said?
Uefa initially aimed to publish the findings of the investigation by November last year.
The report was released on Monday, about an hour before Liverpool’s home game against Merseyside rivals Everton.
It was thought to be set for publication on Tuesday, but details of the investigation’s conclusions were reported by a number of media organisations earlier on Monday.
Liverpool said they had not received a copy of the report before seeing the stories in the media.
“It’s hugely disappointing that a report of such significance, such importance to football supporters’ lives and future safety, should be leaked and published in this way,” said the club.
“It’s been over eight months of work by the independent panel and it is only right and proper to publish the contents of the report to our supporters appropriately.
“We will await to receive a copy of the report and digest it thoroughly before making any further comment.”
Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly was also unhappy the report had been leaked before being seen by the club and its supporters.
“It’s disappointing and insensitive to release a report of this magnitude without first releasing to supporters who were there,” a spokesman told the BBC.
What happened outside the Stade de France?
Uefa initially blamed the “late arrival” of fans for the problems, which delayed kick-off by more than half an hour.
Many Liverpool fans they had been at the stadium hours before kick-off but were stopped from getting into the ground.
France’s interior and sports ministers acknowledged difficulties in managing crowds at the final but pointed blame at Liverpool fans and local youths trying to force their way into the stadium.
However, a spokesperson for France’s independent police commissioner’s union (SICP), Mathieu Valet, told the BBC’s Newshour that “supporters without tickets or with fake tickets were not the main problem”.
“It’s clear that we needed more police – we didn’t have enough on the ground,” he said.