A lifelong Liverpool fan said he feels “robbed” after having his Champions League final ticket seized by a “corrupt” police officer on his way into the stadium.
Craig Skillicorn, 47, said he has not been able to properly enjoy his team’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham in Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium as he was forced to miss the game when police decided his ticket – bought through the club – was fake.
Mr Skillicorn said he was stunned by the police’s actions and tried to prove to officers that the ticket, purchased through the club ballot, was legitimate. However, he said his protests were met with police brutality, after mounted officers struck him repeatedly about the legs.
Father-of-four Mr Skillicorn’s attempts to raise a complaint with the police and UEFA have been met by silence, although Liverpool FC said it was “aware of a number of issues” experienced by supporters in Madrid.
The married commercial director, originally from Ashton-in-Makerfield in Lancashire but now living near Arundel in Sussex, told the Press Association: “I feel as though the match was robbed from me.
“I didn’t want to watch the match back, I haven’t watched any videos, and I didn’t want to stay in Liverpool for the parade.
“It was a brilliant result. But the day itself, for me, was awful. I was in Madrid to watch the game – not in a pub.
“I was miserable as sin. I’m not a big guy, I was on my own – I was probably a sitting target for corrupt police.
“There was no explanation, no letting me prove the ticket wasn’t a fake – he just pocketed it.
“People were offering a few thousand for tickets outside the stadium so I wouldn’t be surprised if he just flogged it to a mate around the corner – it was so corrupt.”
Being turned away was particularly galling for the father-of-four, who arrived in Madrid that morning for the match, having seen Liverpool compete in four previous European finals without a problem.
Describing the day itself, he said: “I picked up my ticket from the hotel, as directed by Liverpool, had to show some ID, and I was advised – don’t take your ticket out your pocket.
“So I moved my wallet and keys and didn’t handle it again until I got next to the stadium – I didn’t tell people I had a ticket, I didn’t get it out. I didn’t want to lose it more than anything.
“I left the fanzone for the stadium in good time because I wanted to soak up the atmosphere – following your team in a European final never gets boring.
“When I got there, a woman on security turnstile was letting me through when a police officer came over, took the ticket, and said ‘fake’. He then put it in his pocket – I couldn’t believe it.
“I said it was not a fake and showed him the email confirmation, the picture I took of my ticket on my phone, but he just said it was a fake.
“I wasn’t getting anywhere with him so I was asking if anyone else had seen anything, to see if they could back me up, but I wasn’t getting anywhere so I spoke to some other police – they just smirked and said they couldn’t speak English.
“So I started walking back to the security turnstile when police grabbed me and hit me with a baton, and a police officer on horseback did a sort of handbrake turn and knocked me over – my body was black and blue. I couldn’t get my head around it.”
Resigned, Mr Skillicorn headed back to the centre of Madrid and watched the match he had a ticket for in a cramped pub.
Mr Skillicorn said his attempts to get answers from Spanish police and UEFA have yielded nothing.
But he said his dispiriting experience in Madrid would not dissuade him from following the Reds in Europe next season.
“If you’re a football fan, you do it for your club. We used to have David Speedie playing up front for us, so if anything was going to put me off watching Liverpool it would’ve been that.”
A Liverpool spokesman said: “We aware of a number of issues that supporters experienced in Madrid.
“The club has spoken to Mr Skillicorn earlier this week and are aware of his complaint.
“Our intention is to work with UEFA and the relevant authorities to understand what has happened.”