Liverpool fans hold up banners criticising UEFA (Peter Byrne/PA)

Liverpool fans criticise “heavy-handed stewarding” as banners removed from Kop

Liverpool supporters’ group Spion Kop 1906 have criticised “heavy-handed” stewards after anti-UEFA protest banners were removed from the Kop.

EDIT: According to The Athletic, “Liverpool insist it was a case of miscommunication rather than any form of censorship.”

It was announced prior to kickoff in the Champions League tie between Liverpool and Real Madrid that a demonstration would take place in opposition of UEFA.

This came after the publication of an independent review of the events surrounding the Champions League final last year, with UEFA deemed responsible.

No apology has been forthcoming from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, while French ministers Amelie Oudea-Castera and Gerald Darmanin – who peddled lies blaming fans in the aftermath of the final – remain in their positions.

As Liverpool and Real got underway at Anfield on Tuesday night, banners were unfurled criticising UEFA along with Oudea-Castera and Darmanin.

“UEFA Liars” read one, while another featured the likeness of Oudea-Castera and Darmanin along with the French word ‘menteurs’, meaning liars.

Fans booed the Champions League anthem before a chorus of “f*** UEFA,” with BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey even apologising before kickoff for his role in spreading misinformation during their broadcast of the final.

But according to supporters, including Spion Kop 1906 themselves, those banners were then “ripped down” by stewards on the Kop.

A statement from the group on Twitter reads: “Disappointing last night with the reaction from the club stewards, their behaviour was unnecessary.

“Our intentions were solely to have maximum impact and minimal disruption.

“Everyone deserved their voice to be heard after the events of Paris 2022 and sadly this was hindered with heavy-handed stewarding and rhetoric that was provoking in nature.”

“Shame on those Kop stewards ripping down the anti-UEFA flags,” wrote another fan, Daniel Nicolson, on Twitter.

“Shame on the club for either a) not having someone who knew what was happening and instructing accordingly or b) knowing about it and letting the stewards do it.

“Take whatever fine it is on the chin and back the fans.”

Nicolson added: “For the first CL home game after Athens there was a large U€FA – FANS NOT FAT CATS banner unfurled at the front.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 21, 2023: Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop before the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The stewards forcibly dragged it down. I know cos I was holding it. It caused a bit of a rift at the time and loss of trust…

“Hopefully it won’t be repeated 16 years on and the lads and girls at @SpionKop1906 will receive an apology and explanation today.

“The club’s done loads of amazing work on Paris. Hopefully this doesn’t undo it and becomes a thing that’s remembered.”