Champions League final: French minster stands by claim Liverpool fans with ‘fake tickets’ caused problems

·3-min read
Champions League final: French minster stands by claim Liverpool fans with ‘fake tickets’ caused problems

The fallout from the disgraceful scenes outside Saturday’s Champions League Final intensified on Monday as French authorities tried to blame Liverpool fans for the delay to the kick-off at the Stade de France where ticket-holders were pepper-sprayed by police and left fearing for their safety.

Thousands of supporters were forced to wait for hours to get inside the stadium after being funnelled into dangerously cramped areas around the ground.

There were also reports from fans of attacks and muggings from local gangs amid the chaos.

UEFA has come in for fierce criticism over its handling of the event – and its initial attempts to blame supporters for turning up late for the terrifying scenes.

European football’s governing body later claimed “thousands of fans” purchased fake tickets.

But Ian Byrne, MP for Liverpool West Derby, claims UEFA and French officials are guilty of a “narrative of lies” reminiscent to the Hillsborough disaster.

The UK Government has demanded for an investigation into the incident and there are calls for the Stade de France to be banned from hosting major events for the foreseeable future.

But France’s Sports Minister, Amelie Oudea-Castera, stood by their claims on Monday morning that the chaos was the fault of Liverpool fans with fake tickets.

“What happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets,” she told French radio RTL.

Those claims are at odds with eye witness accounts where fans, waiting patiently – including children – were subjected to tear gas and heavy-handed policing.

One horrendous video that circulated on social media, showed a fan sprayed by a police officer as they walked through the turnstile.

Former Liverpool player Jason McAteer revealed his son was attacked and wife mugged as they tried get through the bottlenecks created by barricades.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A meeting was being held this morning between UEFA, local authorities, police and final organisers including the French Football Federation to review the events, which led to a 36-minute delay to the kick-off – but Byrne is already accusing authorities of a cover up.

“That narrative of lies that we all know so well from 1989 has begun,” he told Sky Sports News. “I’ve never ever seen a more hostile environment. To get [treated] like animals, which we were. It was horrific. From the outset the police, the security, everything about it was absolutely awful.”

Byrne also called for the Stade de France to be banned from hosting major European matches until it can ensure there is no repeat of Saturday’s events.

Children, disabled and blind fans were among those caught up in the terrifying scenes and suffered the effects of tear gas.

While the UEFA and the French authorities tried to blame Liverpool supporters for trying to gain entry without tickets, the claims on the ground were of locals attempting to force their way in.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said yesterday: “The footage and accounts from Liverpool fans and the media on their entry to the Stade de France last night are deeply concerning.

“Thousands of ticket holders travelled to Paris in good time to support their team in the biggest match of their season.

“I urge UEFA to launch a formal investigation into what went wrong and why, in coordination with stadium staff, the French Police, Fédération Française de Football, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Football Club.

“It is in the interests of everyone involved to understand what happened and to learn lessons from these events.”

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