Liverpool FC – Billy Hogan explains latest development on UCL final questions
Billy, please join us again tonight to update the fans on what has happened since Saturday’s game. First, UEFA announced last night that they had commissioned an independent report into the events surrounding the Champions League final. Can you give us more information about this?
As we mentioned yesterday, we wrote to UEFA yesterday asking them to appoint a competent person or persons to carry out a thorough, independent and transparent investigation into the pre- and post-match events in Paris. We knew they had commissioned a report, according to media statements, and we got a letter from UEFA today confirming that and in fact I had a conversation tonight with UEFA about it. There aren’t many details at this stage, it’s obviously an evolving process, but we want to make sure that the appropriate steps are taken to get the facts about what happened on Saturday in Paris. As an example, it may just be a difference in language, but in our minds, we asked for an independent investigation rather than an independent report. So, again, the details are really important here and we will follow up with UEFA on that in the coming days.
Yesterday the club launched an online form to supporters who traveled to Paris to complete and record their experiences in writing and with photographic and video evidence. What has been the response so far?
It was amazing. As of now, late Tuesday afternoon, in just over 24 hours, the form has been completed and we have had over 5,000 forms completed and submitted, which is truly amazing. First of all, thank you to everyone who took the time to share their experiences. Obviously, this is a huge amount of information, so we ask for your patience while we go through this detail. But I spent some time during the day reviewing some of the information and, honestly, I am horrified at how some men, women, children – able-bodied, less-abled – were treated indiscriminately over Saturday.
I think the volume of forms filled out in the past 24 hours really shows how much fans want to support the investigative process and, most importantly, gather real evidence of what happened before and after the coup. mail. I think it is important to recognize that we have all rightly focused on the problems of access to the Stade de France; I think it’s also important not to lose sight of what happened after the game. I think we’ve all seen videos, photos, I’ve read a number of stories of absolutely horrific experiences leaving the stadium as well – crimes have been committed, muggings have taken place. No one should go through what our supporters went through before or after the game. In our mind, this is obviously totally unacceptable, which is why it is important that we create this body of experience, which clearly must be included in the independent investigation.
And finally, on this point, I would just like to reiterate the point I made yesterday, which is addressed to all members of this football club and to all the supporters who have been affected by the events of Saturday: thank you . Please share your experiences via the online form. It has been incredibly difficult in some cases to read some of the experiences. Thank you for supporting each other through what was a horrific and traumatic event.
There have been many people in recent days – experts, professionals, journalists – speaking in the media and giving their opinion on what happened on Saturday and in particular on the operational management of the final. What do you think of these comments?
I have heard many and I thank those who express themselves and share their experience and expertise in the media, in particular. It’s all part of wanting to hear the facts about what happened in Paris, to listen to the experts. I think it’s essential. It is essential in this process. Those who have hosted world sporting events, those who have professional crowd management experience, it is extremely helpful to understand how other events are run and just to hear best practices in terms of what is happening in the sports and entertainment industry. So I think it’s extremely important for everyone to keep talking and sharing their experience. Once we know that the independent investigation is underway and in the right direction, everyone brings as much evidence as possible. Again, our goal in calling for this independent inquiry was and still is to ensure that all relevant facts are heard, all affected parties are heard, the truth is established and lessons learned so that this does not happen again. never.
Given these experiences you’ve talked about, is there anywhere fans who were affected by what happened on Saturday can go to get help and support?
Yes. It’s something we’ve been talking about for the past two days. First of all, my heartfelt thoughts are with everyone who experienced these unacceptable events on Saturday night. We are currently working with our Foundation team, who run outreach and crisis support programs, to see how to guide people to the appropriate support for affected fans. People may be aware of the work the Foundation has done with Spirit of Shankly specifically on mental health, for example. Our Foundation team, in conjunction with specialist organisations, has expertise in this area and we will post these details to our channels as soon as possible.
Another very important point I want to raise is that we are also aware that many supporters were injured on Saturday night and we have asked UEFA for their match log, which includes all medical incidents from the night, we can tend reach out to these supporters and their families to help them if we can.
Billy, thanks again for joining us tonight and providing us with the latest updates on this.
I am obviously very happy to provide relevant updates to our fans and encourage everyone to keep an eye on our club and social media, and of course we can talk again here if necessary.
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