UEFA in Crisis: Calls for Accountability and Reform
Allegations of Cronyism and Safety Failures Rock European Football
Calls for the resignation of UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin have grown louder amidst allegations of bias and safety lapses surrounding the 2022 Champions League final. Ian Byrne, a Liverpool Member of Parliament, has urged the Football Association (FA) to pressure Ceferin, citing concerns about UEFA's handling of the Liverpool vs. Real Madrid final.
The lead-up to the match was marred by long queues, insufficient policing, and incidents involving local troublemakers. An independent report placed "primary responsibility" on UEFA for the chaos outside the Stade de France in Paris. Byrne has written to FA CEO Mark Bullingham, demanding the removal of Zeljko Pavlica, UEFA's head of security and a close ally of Ceferin, alleging cronyism in his appointment.
Byrne stresses the FA's duty to hold UEFA accountable as a member of the confederation, deeming it unacceptable to overlook these issues. Recent reports suggest that UEFA provided false evidence to its own inquiry, shielding its security unit from criticism. Sharon Burkhalter-Lau, a senior event official, highlighted multiple shortcomings, attributing many problems to the Paris police.
Byrne draws parallels between this incident and the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, urging the FA not to repeat past mistakes and emphasizing the welfare of European football fans. Although UEFA has not responded to Byrne's letter, an FA spokeswoman affirmed their commitment to fan safety, promising to consider the Paris report's recommendations for the 2024 Champions League final at Wembley.
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