UEFA admits its ticketing system can be brought down by a faulty pen in shocking exposure of incompetence | Soccer

File photo dated 28-05-2022 of Liverpool fans, stuck off the ground, show their playing cards during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Stade de France, Paris, as Liverpool fans received more than 5,000 first-hand reports in a 24-hour period Parisian mayhem surrounding Saturday's Champions League final. Picture date: Saturday May 28, 2022. Issue date: Tuesday May 31, 2022. PA Photo. See PA Story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Liverpool fans with legitimate tickets have been told they were fake at the Stade de France. (Credit: PA)

UEFA, in a shocking glimpse into the organisation’s incompetence, has admitted its entire ticketing system can be derailed by a faulty pen.

European Football Federation CEO of Events Martin Kallen made the startling admission during a French Senate hearing into the carnage at the Stade de France ahead of May’s UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, which saw Reds fans with legitimate Tickets, including women and children, carry tear gas and are hit with riot shields by French police.

France’s Senate is conducting an inquiry into how football’s flagship event ended in carnage, and co-chairman Laurent Lafon has already confirmed that “almost every authority involved in organizing the game]failed at some point.

But on Tuesday morning, Kallen and UEFA chose to pin the blame for the debacle on fans, claiming thousands had arrived without a ticket or with fakes and attempted to enter the stadium. Kallen presented no evidence to support his claim.

During the hearing, Kallen admitted that UEFA’s ticketing system was fallible as both paper and digital tickets had issues.

“There was a technical error with problems filtering and validating tickets caused by a faulty pen,” explained Kallen. This means Liverpool supporters with valid paper tickets have been told they were fake due to a broken pen. Players’ family members, including left-back Andy Robertson, were among those who said their legitimate tickets were fake.

Pre-filter ticketing took place away from the stadium under a crowded overpass where fans waited for over an hour in 25 degree heat with no access to water or toilet facilities. Eventually, as the risk of fatality was clear, pre-filter ticket controls were abandoned to relieve the pressure of the dangerous bruises caused by the faulty pins.

Kallen further claimed that UEFA wanted the match to produce digital tickets only, using a blockchain system that UEFA first built in 2016, but that Liverpool and Real Madrid objected. Kallen left to also expose a major flaw in digital tickets.

“If you arrived at the turnstiles without active Bluetooth, your QR code wouldn’t activate,” Kallen said, demonstrating again that fans with real tickets were turned away at the turnstiles just because of Bluetooth.


Martin Kallen’s appearance in the French Senate raised many eyebrows. (Photo by Richard Juilliart – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

In early Senate hearings, French Home Secretary Gérald Darmanin and Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement were mocked for claiming that up to 40,000 Liverpool supporters tried to enter the Stade de France without tickets or with fake tickets. Kallen says UEFA disagrees.

“We do not agree with the figure of 30,000 to 40,000 counterfeit tickets that was very quickly given by the French authorities,” Kallen said. “But there were more than 2,600.”

The 2,600 is highly contestable, however, as Kallen himself showed how valid paper and digital tickets were counted as fakes due to UEFA’s broken pen and Bluetooth issues.

Investigation co-chair Laurent Lafon has previously stated that all the authorities involved in organizing the game were at fault somewhere along the line. (Photo by Daniel Pier/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Towards the end of the hearing, one of the senators present reprimanded Kallen for his performance and begged him to address serious organizational errors by UEFA and the French authorities. “Fake tickets weren’t the main problem,” the senator said.

“There was the transport strike, the flow management problems, the police interventions, the crime problems around the stadium. It is not correct to speak only of fakes.’ Kallen responded by talking about fake tickets again.

Kallen’s shocking revelation raises significant concerns about UEFA’s ability to organize major sporting events such as the Champions League final.

The Swiss told the Senate that the organization’s report on the fiasco is likely to be released sometime in September, although his testimony will have done little to allay fears that UEFA’s main objective will be to protect its own reputation.

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Liverpool FC UEFA admits its ticketing system can be brought down by a faulty pen in shocking exposure of incompetence | Soccer

Nate Jones

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