Real Madrid rejects UEFA fan refund offers for final chaos

March 9, 2023 GMT
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Real Madrid fans cheers after Real Madrid's Karim Benzema scored his side's fourth goal during the Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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Real Madrid fans cheers after Real Madrid's Karim Benzema scored his side's fourth goal during the Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

GENEVA (AP) — Real Madrid has rejected UEFA’s plan to refund some fans the price of their ticket to last year’s chaotic Champions League final in Paris, and the club said Thursday it would help them file their own legal claims.

Madrid said it expected more from UEFA after talks about compensation than just the “insufficient” offer of the ticket cost with conditions attached to prove their eligibility.

The offer to Madrid and Liverpool fans last week had been promised by UEFA after an investigation panel it appointed outlined serious organizational failures leading to a near “mass fatality catastrophe” at Stade de France on May 28.

“Many of them were victims of ticket theft and the theft of personal belongings such as bags, phones and wallets,” Madrid said in a statement. “And more seriously, some of these fans were subjected to physical assaults that required medical attention and admission to hospital.”

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The dispute is the latest legal rift between the Champions League winners and the competition’s organizers.

Both await a European Court of Justice ruling into a challenge to UEFA’s authority over international competitions brought by Madrid and other clubs who launched the failed Super League project in April 2021.

“Regrettably, our club believes that UEFA’s proposal ... is insufficient,” Madrid said, adding it had been “entirely confident that these solutions would be in line with the seriousness of the events, the extent of the damage caused and UEFA’s responsibility for them.”

“For this reason, Real Madrid has decided not to cooperate in the restricted compensation procedure proposed by UEFA, which we ask to redress the situation and assume its full responsibility,” it said.

Madrid members and fans were promised details within days of how to pursue legal action against UEFA.

The club said it would help “members and fans who experienced any kind of harm at the 2022 Champions League final in Paris to make the appropriate claims against UEFA for their personal and legitimate interests.”

UEFA said last week it made a “comprehensive and fair” offer of compensation to the fans “most affected by the difficulties in accessing the stadium.”

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