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By ESPN Staff
Feb 21, 2007

Caborn calls for review of safety procedures

Sports minister Richard Caborn has called on UEFA to ensure grounds used for the Champions League meet minimum safety requirements.

There appeared to be a crush of Manchester United supporters against a 10-foot high safety barrier during the opening stages of last night's Champions League last-16 match against Lille, which was staged at Lens' Felix-Bollaert stadium.

At least two supporters, one a schoolboy, were lifted over the barrier while security officials slammed shut a gate which had been pushed open by United supporters trying to relieve the pressure.

What could have been a chilling reminder of the Hillsborough tragedy was not aided by the arrival of French riot police who fired tear gas into the stand.

United have called for a UEFA investigation.

Ironically Lille play their European matches at Lens because their Metropole stadium does not meet UEFA standards.

But Caborn wants safety checks to be brought forward to weeks in advance of the match, rather than on the day of the game.

He told LBC NEWS 1152: 'I think some of the grounds are not coming up to what even UEFA are saying are the minimum standards and I think one's got to be asking UEFA are they now going to be taking action with those grounds that are not coming up to the standards?

'Not a few hours before the match but weeks before the match so they go out, they look at those grounds and indeed if they're not up to standard then UEFA - by their own code - ought to be taking action.

'There are a number of grounds where Champions League matches are being played that don't come up to the standard of UEFA.

'Now I think it`s up to UEFA to make sure they do carry out inspections and those inspections are acted upon if they are substandard.'

Caborn revealed: 'One of the problems you have is that they go and inspect the ground on the day the match is taking place.

'We'll be raising it with UEFA in a very practical way because the independent football commission have a series of recommendations which, if followed, situations like Lille won't happen.'