Paris final ‘independent review’ police chief is UEFA security officer | UEFA
The Amsterdam police chief appointed to sit on UEFA’s ‘independent review’ into the chaos of the Champions League final in Paris is a senior security official at UEFA, which raises new concerns about the independence and governance of the review.
Frank Paauw, an experienced Dutch police chief and football match commander, worked as a UEFA security officer at four club finals and at European Championship tournaments in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Although he has not worked in this capacity since, his career biography, officially issued by the Amsterdam police which he has led since 2019, Paauw is still described as “senior security officer at Uefa”. .
The revelation that Paauw also has a long working relationship with UEFA means that the four people appointed to assist the review’s chairman, Portuguese MP Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, have worked for UEFA for years. Kenny Scott, like highly respected Paauw in football policing, is UEFA’s former head of safety and security operations until his retirement last year, and he has continued to work for UEFA in as a security officer at international matches. The two Portuguese stadium events professionals appointed to provide administrative support to Rodrigues, Daniel Ribeiro and Luis Silva, have also both worked extensively for UEFA, as reported by the Guardian.
When announcing the July 1 appointments to review the near-disaster of May’s final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, UEFA offered no information on Ribeiro or Silva. He said Paauw and Scott “have, on several occasions, served as UEFA security guards for individual club competition matches”, but did not mention international matches or working at the Euros, nor any ongoing work with UEFA.
Liverpool and their supporters have raised concerns about Rodrigues’ relevant independence, expertise and experience since UEFA appointed him chairman of the review without consultation on May 30, just two days after the final. In his previous capacity as education minister, which in Portugal includes responsibility for sport, Rodrigues worked closely with the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), whose president Fernando Gomes is a close ally of the president of the UEFA, Aleksandr Ceferin. Former FPF chief executive Tiago Craveiro moved last March to become Ceferin’s adviser at UEFA. UEFA and the FPF declined to say whether Craveiro and Gomes were involved in talks about setting up the UEFA review or appointing Rodrigues as its chairman.
The Spirit of Shankly (SoS) Liverpool Supporters Trust wrote a strong open letter to Rodrigues on Tuesday, saying it was “unacceptable” that he had yet to engage with them, and highlighting questions about UEFA relations from those helping him. “We also remain concerned about recent revelations regarding numerous undisclosed ties, past working arrangements and relationships, all of which offer little or no confidence in trust and independence,” the letter reads.
Joe Blott, the chairman of SoS, said reports of Paauw’s relationship with UEFA added to this concern: “We have consistently expressed doubts about the independence of the review from UEFA, and we are also concerned why UEFA has not clearly set out in its announcement the relevant expertise of all appointees and a full statement of their links to UEFA so that this is transparent.
In response to questions, a UEFA spokesperson said: “As previously communicated, UEFA will not comment further on the independent review until it has reached its conclusion. We would also like to draw your attention to the comments [1 July] press release which explicitly states: “The two experts [i.e. Frank Paauw and Kenny Scott] have on several occasions served as UEFA security guards for individual club competition matches.
In Lisbon on Thursday, the five experts appointed to ‘support’ the review, including supporter representatives, Hillsborough families’ lawyer Pete Weatherby QC and football police expert Prof. Clifford Stottshould have their first meeting with Rodrigues to discuss the process.