Jordan Henderson’s father will not go to the World Cup after ‘horrifying’ scenes in Paris

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Jordan Henderson says he would think twice about attending a big football match as an amateur after “horrific” scenes at the Champions League final in Paris last season and the European Championship final at Wembley last summer previous.

The Liverpool and England midfielder, who was involved in both games, has harrowing stories to tell about his family’s experiences in each. He says his father, Brian, decided after Paris that he would not travel again, meaning he would not follow England to the World Cup final in Qatar. Henderson has other family members who have been similarly discouraged.

Related: UEFA’s pre-prepared Champions League final statement blames ‘late’ fans

The Champions League final in May was marred by organizational chaos and stunts before, during and after. Thousands of supporters missed the kick-off, which was delayed by 36 minutes due to congestion outside the Stade de France, where Liverpool fans had been herded into a bottleneck. Police used tear gas indiscriminately and local youths attacked and robbed supporters.

“It was pretty horrible,” Henderson said. “When I talked to some of my friends, my family and my dad, it was pretty bad. If the fans weren’t respectful, there could be a lot more problems. I think the fans were amazing.

“It was the authorities and the people around the stadium who were not there and were causing problems. I guess as a fan, if you go to the game and you don’t feel comfortable and you feel threatened by any situation, you won’t want to go again. It’s as simple as that really.

“My family and friends have had a couple of experiences over the last few years that have really shocked them and probably put them off for future games. When you see scenes like you have in the European Championship final, in the Champions League final, then they don’t really want to go and put themselves in that situation again.

“I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to put themselves in that situation. There were two totally different reasons [for the problems] but again, if it were me, I wouldn’t want to put myself in that situation.

“My dad said after the Champions League final that he was done. As the World Cup approaches… there are a lot of security elements and things going on in Qatar that I’m sure will make people safer. But when you’ve had those experiences, sometimes you think, ‘Is it worth the risk?’ We will have to see closer to the time”.

At the European Championship final in July last year, fans fought with police and stewards and stormed the turnstiles to force entry without tickets. Alan Maguire, the father of England defender Harry, was trampled in the stampede and suffered suspected broken ribs. Many others were injured and shaken.

Henderson said: “My wife and children have to enter through a side door [at Wembley] and they wouldn’t let them in at first. They were trapped. She was trying to get the kids out of the way of what was going on and finally after about 15 or 20 minutes someone recognized her and let them in. If that person didn’t, it could have been a problem.

Related: Wembley faced ‘unprecedented’ public disorder at Euro final, FA says

“My dad was a little bit involved and Harry Maguire’s dad was seriously injured. My children were fine, but they were lucky. I think other kids and other parents might not have been so lucky…it would have been horrible. [for them]. We all know it was a bad experience for a lot of people and then we have Paris which is probably even worse.”

Henderson was asked if the players were aware of what was going on before the games. “Not to the extent of how bad they both were,” he said. “The one in Paris was a little different. you will go out [for the warm-up] and then it is delayed. They just say: ‘Delays in getting fans’. And you really don’t know why.

“Then you go back out [to warm up] and still not many fans [in the seats] and you start to question what is really going on. At the same time, you are trying to prepare for one of the biggest games of your life. It was the same for both sides.”

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