How the Champions League final nearly ended in disaster – podcast

Today in Focus Series

Liverpool fans attending this year’s Champions League final faced a crush outside the stadium that held stark echoes of the worst day in the club’s history. David Conn has spent months investigating what happened

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On the morning of 28 May, thousands of Liverpool supporters arrived at fan zones in Paris for that night’s culmination of Europe’s football season: their team’s Champions League final against Real Madrid. The atmosphere was good natured, the anticipation was electric. It ended in chaos and came closer to catastrophe than many realised at the time.

Thousands of Liverpool supporters, like Kevin Cowley, were crammed together on a dangerous route to the stadium. Later, as the crush intensified and the match was delayed, they would be blamed for the event nearly turning deadly. For Cowley, a survivor of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, it transported him back to that day, he tells Michael Safi.

For David Conn, the echoes from that day in 1989, the worst in Liverpool’s history, were everywhere to be found. When football came together to say “never again” after Hillsborough, it hardly seemed possible that during the biggest night in European football, more than 30 years later, fans could come so close to losing their lives.

Liverpool fans file photo<br />File photo dated 28-05-2022 of of Liverpool fans stuck outside the ground show their match tickets off at the Stade de France, Paris. Liverpool fans were unfairly blamed for the chaos which surrounded last season’s Champions League final in Paris to "divert attention" from the failure of the organisers, a French Senate report has found. Issue date: Wednesday July 13, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Final. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire.” src=”″>
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