France apologize for sloppy security in Champions League final


France have apologized for the chaos that marred Saturday night’s Champions League final in Paris and admitted the way British football fans were treated went very badly.

However, ministers also blamed the distribution of counterfeit ‘industrial scale’ tickets for the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid for crowd control issues which resulted in the tear gassing of women and children by police in front of the gates of the Stade de France.

At a press conference following an emergency meeting of sports and law enforcement officials on Monday, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra all two said they regretted what happened to Liverpool fans gathered outside the gates.

“We have nothing to be proud of what happened on Saturday night,” Darmanin said. “Sport should be a party and it was partly ruined” by the delay to the start of the game and the violent incidents, he added. “That’s not what should happen, obviously. I would like to add, however, that the decisions that have been taken have prevented deaths.

Recriminations after the final, in which Real Madrid beat Liverpool in front of 80,000 fans, have intensified since Saturday and risked turning into a diplomatic row after Downing Street said footage from outside the stadium was “deeply disturbing and disturbing”.

A meeting on Monday to analyze what went wrong brought together representatives from European football’s governing body UEFA, the French Football Federation, the police, the Interior Ministry and the district of Seine-Saint-Denis, where the stadium is located.

French ministers also sought to deflect blame by saying the root of the problem was as many as 40,000 fans who showed up without tickets or with fake tickets, causing a first set of checkpoints to be overwhelmed and crowds to accumulate dangerously at the gates.

Darmanin said this “massive fraud on an industrial scale” happened because almost all Liverpool fans were using paper and not digital tickets, unlike Real Madrid’s 22,000 fans, three-quarters of whom received digital tickets . French prosecutors are currently investigating the alleged ticket fraud and have also asked UEFA to look into the case.

More than two-thirds of tickets presented by around 60,000 Liverpool supporters were fake, Darmanin added.

The problems were also compounded by a strike which affected one of the train lines serving the stadium, forcing fans to use other modes of transport which concentrated crowds on a small number of routes and stadium entrances. Nor was there enough signage or enough stewards to help funnel UK supporters to the right places.

At the scheduled kick-off time of 9 p.m., 97% of Real Madrid fans were in the stadium compared to half of Liverpool supporters, officials said.

Nadine Dorries, Britain’s culture secretary, urged UEFA on Sunday “to launch a formal investigation into what went wrong and why, in coordination with stadium staff, the French police, the French Football Federation, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Football Club”.

Others question the French version of events. Ronan Evian, who leads a fan group called Football Supporters Europe, said the 40,000 figure was “a fantasy” which French authorities were using to blame Liverpool supporters for the behavior of the roughly 7,000 police officers on duty that night -the.

Ian Byrne, Labor MP for Liverpool West Derby, who was at the game, said he had seen nothing like it since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. He wrote to Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary, calling for a formal behavioral survey. French authorities and UEFA.

“I can honestly say that the situation off the ground was one of the most horrific experiences of my life – and as a Hillsborough survivor, I don’t make that comment lightly,” he said. stated in the letter.

“Honestly, I have never witnessed such a hostile environment for a football match. It was really horrible. Lots of elderly people, children, disabled people, people with asthma and families Outings for an unforgettable day were among those sprayed with pepper spray.

Fans show tickets outside the Stade de France ahead of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid © Christophe Ena/AP

Some fans also said they were assaulted by locals as they left the stadium and blamed the police for failing to secure the area around the Stade de France. Police officials declined to comment on the reports on Sunday.

The incidents are politically sensitive, not only for the negative image they projected of France at a high-profile event, but also because the country is preparing to host the Rugby World Cup next year and the Summer Olympics in 2024.

UEFA and Liverpool did not respond to requests for comment.


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