UEFA apologizes to fans over Champions League final chaos

UEFA apologizes to fans over Champions League final chaos
A fan looks through a fence while fans were stopped by police officers at the turnstiles inside the stadium as the match was delayed on Saturday. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 03 June 2022

UEFA apologizes to fans over Champions League final chaos

UEFA apologizes to fans over Champions League final chaos
  • Thousands of supporters were unable to access European club football's showpiece match despite having genuine tickets
  • "No football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again," European football's governing body said

LAUSANNE: UEFA apologized to spectators for the first time on Friday for their “frightening and distressing” experience ahead of the Champions League final, saying no football fan should go through such mayhem.
Thousands of supporters were unable to access European club football’s showpiece match despite having genuine tickets, in chaotic scenes that saw the French police use tear gas at close range even against children.
“UEFA wishes to sincerely apologize to all spectators who had to experience or witness frightening and distressing events in the build-up to the UEFA Champions League final at the Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, on a night which should have been a celebration of European club football.
“No football fan should be put in that situation, and it must not happen again,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.
Spanish giants Real Madrid beat England’s Liverpool 1-0, but the match was completely overshadowed by the chaos outside the stadium.
Before the game, thousands of Liverpool fans with tickets had to wait for hours to enter the ground, with police using tear gas and pepper spray on the crowds.
Some Liverpool supporters said they feared being crushed after small openings were used to filter the queues.
Many fans from both sides also reported being assaulted and robbed outside the stadium after the match.
The chaos sparked anger in Britain, political uproar in France a fortnight ahead of legislative elections, and raised questions about the French capital’s capability to host the Olympics in 2024.
UEFA has commissioned an independent review led by Portugal’s former government minister Tiago Brandao Rodrigues and aimed at finding the responsibilities and shortcomings of those involved in organizing the final.
“UEFA wishes — and needs — to understand what happened during the course of the day of the final, and determine lessons learnt to ensure there is no repeat of the actions and events of that day,” it said in a statement.
“The review will seek to establish a full picture and timeline of what occurred during the day, both within the stadium and the surrounding areas, including examining spectator flows to the stadium via the various access points,” it said as it published the terms of reference.
The review will go through the security, ticketing and planning for the final and will also look at fan meeting points.
It will engage with UEFA, fan groups, Liverpool and Real Madrid, the French Football Federation (FFF), the police, the stadium operator and other public authorities.
“Further information on how relevant parties can submit their testimonies (via a dedicated email address or an online questionnaire) will be communicated shortly,” UEFA said.
The review will start immediately and be completed in the “shortest possible time-frame” and then set out its findings, conclusions and recommendations.
Once completed, it will be published on UEFA’s website.
France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has faced accusations of lying after he blamed the chaos on massive ticket fraud, and has since admitted that the organization around the final could “clearly” have been better.
The Champions League final kicked off 36 minutes late due to the problems outside.
The review is so far “the only investigation linked to the fans,” Football Supporters Europe executive director Ronan Evain told AFP.
If UEFA’s communications “were not ideal on Saturday... the main thing is that it is there, and putting the pressure on” Darmanin, the FFF and the Paris police, “so they recognize that the supporters were victims of what happened,” Evain added.


Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games
Updated 7 sec ago

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games
  • Abdullah Abkar and Hussain Al-Hizam were the Kingdom’s big winners on Tuesday

Saudi sprinter Abdullah Abkar on Tuesday won a silver medal in the 100 meters at the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey.

Abkar finished second in the final with a time of 9.95 seconds, improving on his semifinal time of 9.96, which was the first time a Saudi had run a sub-10 second race at the Islamic Solidarity Games.

The podium finish is the fourth by a Saudi athlete in the men’s 100 meters in this competition, after Salem Al-Yami’s gold in 2005, and bronze for Jamal Al-Saffar and Fahad Al-Subaie in 2005 and 2013 respectively.

Hussain Al-Hizam claimed Saudi’s second medal of the day by grabbing silver in the pole vault competition with a height of 5.40 meters.

The mark is 15 centimeters below the height Al-Hizam managed when winning gold at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.


Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games
Updated 51 min 46 sec ago

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games
  • Official opening ceremony in Konya welcomes athletes from 54 countries

KONYA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday night officially opened the 2022 Islamic Solidarity Games in the presence of the President of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal.

The fifth edition of games will take place in Konya, Turkey, until Aug. 18.

The ceremony at Konya Metropolitan Municipality Stadium welcomed athletes from 54 countries in the presence of several Olympic federation leaders, including the head of the Saudi delegation and Vice President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SOPC) Prince Fahd bin Jalawi.

Prince Abdulaziz, also SOPC president, said in his opening statement: “We meet today on a new date under one banner, permanent brotherhood and a great goal, for there is nothing more beautiful than peace and higher than Islam — Islam which, since its inception encouraged swimming, archery and horse riding, preceding humanity in promoting sports.”

He expressed his delight at the launch of the fifth Islamic Solidarity Games, in which more than 4,000 male and female athletes will compete.

Prince Abdulaziz thanked Erdogan, the government and the people of Turkey for hosting the event, adding: “You have all been nothing but supportive.

“The federation grants the new edition a certificate of success from its first moments.”


Manchester City’s youth Abu Dhabi Cup returns in 2023

Manchester City’s youth Abu Dhabi Cup returns in 2023
Updated 10 August 2022

Manchester City’s youth Abu Dhabi Cup returns in 2023

Manchester City’s youth Abu Dhabi Cup returns in 2023
  • Competition open to young male and female players from Feb. 18-19 at Zayed Sports City Stadium

ABU DHABI: The Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup will return to the UAE capital in February 2023, for the first time since 2019, the organizers have announced.

The youth tournament caters for players of all abilities, with the aim of developing footballers in the region.

Launched in 2017, the youth tournament has over the years attracted international interest with the participation of 13 countries from four continents, over 1,750 players (including Manchester City academy footballers from the UK) and 4,000 spectators.

In 2018, the organizers also launched a new girls’ category, which will return for the upcoming 2023 edition.

The tournament will be held over the weekend of Feb. 18 and 19 at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the largest multi-purpose venue in the UAE. Off the pitch and away from the action, families will be able to enjoy live entertainment and fun activities in the ‘City Village.’

Aref Hamad Al-Awani, general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Abu Dhabi Sports Council is delighted to once again support the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup. Football tournaments in the capital city are essential to ensure the growth, further development and improvement of the football landscape in the UAE. We are very excited to see the Cup competition return in 2023 and are looking forward to welcoming teams from the region competing alongside youth Abu Dhabi football clubs.”

The age categories for the 2023 tournament will be under-8, under-10, under-12 and under-14 boys, and two categories for under-11 and under-14 girls.

Simon Hewitt, senior manager, Football Operations MENA - Football Education, said: “We can’t wait to see so many young footballers playing with a smile on their faces and having fun at the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup in February 2023. The tournament returns and promises to be a fantastic experience for all involved, from players to families and the coaches.”

“The tournament caters for all levels of abilities with day two ending in a selection of finals for the City Cup, City Plate, City Trophy and City Shield all up for grabs, with one lucky team winning an all-expenses paid trip to the City Football Academy in Manchester.”

Meanwhile Saleh Mohamed Saleh Al-Geziry, director general for tourism at the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, said: “Inspiring the next generation of sports stars and sharing Abu Dhabi with the world are among the key goals of DCT Abu Dhabi, so we’re thrilled to support the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup and showcase our world-class sporting infrastructure and partnerships.”


Runners have new short races before Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022

Runners have new short races before Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022
Updated 10 August 2022

Runners have new short races before Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022

Runners have new short races before Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022
  • Yas Island and Al-Ain stadium to host 1km to 21.1km events
  • Aim to hone fitness of elite and amateur racers, say organizers

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company have announced an all-new Race Series Edition of short distances that will allow elite and amateur runners to hone their fitness ahead of the fourth edition of the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon on Dec. 17 this year.

The series is open to people of all ages and will feature three organized runs. The first is scheduled to take place on Sept. 3 over 5 kilometers inside Yas Mall Abu Dhabi, and over 1 kilometer and 3 kilometers. The second event will take place on Oct. 8 at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al-Ain, and offer an outdoor race of 10 kilometers as well as options of 3 kilometers and 5 kilometers.

The third run of the series is on Nov. 5, just over a month before the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon. It will provide participants the chance to race a 21.1-kilometer half-marathon on a new course on Yas Island, as well as options of 3 kilometers, 5 kilometers and 10 kilometers.

Aref Al-Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “The new series of community races represent a distinctive addition to the fourth ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon program and the agenda of our sporting activities in general.

“It further reveals our enduring commitment to encourage the practice of sports among members of society of all age groups and ensuring that it promotes our healthy and active lifestyle program to further improve the Quality of Life Index in Abu Dhabi.”

In keeping with the slogan “For the Community, By the Community,” the series demonstrates how the marathon is driving community engagement and promoting a healthy lifestyle for all UAE residents, he added.

Dr. Saif Sultan Al-Nasseri, director of the Human Capital Directorate at ADNOC, said: “The Race Series Edition provides a great opportunity for members of the public to train and practice their race strategies ahead of the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon and we encourage everyone to take advantage.

“ADNOC is pleased to support this initiative and we will continue enabling the wellbeing of our community through our integrated health and sporting initiatives.”

Last year’s marathon attracted more than 12,000 participants of various ages, in addition to a sizeable group of elite international athletes. The 42.2-kilometer race was held alongside 10-kilometer, 5-kilometer, and 2.5-kilometer competitions.


Nutrition for health and sports under spotlight in Riyadh

Nutrition for health and sports under spotlight in Riyadh
Updated 10 August 2022

Nutrition for health and sports under spotlight in Riyadh

Nutrition for health and sports under spotlight in Riyadh
  • Saudi federation holds workshops with PepsiCo
  • Seminars part of Vision 2030’s xQuality of Life Program

The importance of nutrition for athletic performance and general health was under the spotlight in Riyadh recently with the Saudi Sports for All Federation, or SFA, holding its second series of workshops with PepsiCo’s Gatorade Sport and Science Institute.

The popular program saw 61 participants selected from 303 applicants, which included Community Sports Groups, coaches, and experts in several sporting codes.

Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, managing director of the SFA, said: “At SFA, we take a holistic approach to health and wellness that encompasses all elements required for a healthy lifestyle. The sports nutrition workshop is one of our initiatives to provide our communities with trainers to help them navigate a lifestyle driven by sports and physical activity.

“Participants from the workshop are now equipped with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to support fellow citizens and residents with guidance on nutrition and hydration as we embark on our goal to increase sports and physical activity in the Kingdom,” she said.

PepsiCo’s GSSI was established in 1985 to help athletes with expert nutritional advice.

Karim Khedr, franchise VP, said: “Through our partnership with SFA, we are aiming to improve people’s quality of life in Saudi Arabia. We recognize the importance of working with partners who share the same ambitions — and together we want to empower athletes for success by providing tools to advance them to become strong assets in building a better future.

“We are proud to see the number of participants who attended the sports nutrition training workshops and look forward to further playing our part in supporting the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 goal of being among the leaders in selected sports regionally and globally.”

The three-day seminar covered a range of topics, including hydration, the function of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and dietary supplements.

Participants received personalized GSSI certificates and will serve as sports ambassadors.

The workshops are supported by the Ministry of Sport. This is part of Vision 2030’s Quality of Life Program to increase the number of people exercising at least once a week to 40 percent.