French Senate says Liverpool fans not to blame for Champions League final chaos

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An enquiry carried out by the French Senate found chaotic scenes before the Champions League final were caused by "a string of dysfunctions" in the organisation of the event, rather than Liverpool supporters.

The kick-off for the showdown between the Reds and Real Madrid at the Stade de France on May 28 was delayed due to alarming scenes outside the stadium in Paris.

The French government initially accused Liverpool fans, who were sprayed with tear gas and complained of being subjected to heavy-handed policing, of being at fault for having fake tickets and arriving at the ground late.

Paris police chief Didier Lallement apologised to supporters for the use of tear gas and his wrong estimation of the number of fake tickets that were in circulation.

Two Senate committees launched an investigation to discover what happened prior to Madrid's 1-0 win and concluded that Liverpool fans were not to blame.

The report stated: "It is unfair to have wanted to make supporters of the Liverpool team bear the responsibility for the disturbances that occurred, as the Minister of the Interior did to divert attention from the inability of the state to adequately manage the crowds present and to curb the action of several hundred violent and co-ordinated offenders."

"The systems put in place had major shortcomings with regard to the intelligence [absence of hooligans but presence of delinquents in large numbers], the transport routes for supporters [removal of a drop-off route at the surroundings of the stadium] and insufficient communication.

"It is not only in the execution that problems arose. Upstream, the crisis scenarios were insufficiently worked on and did not demonstrate the necessary flexibility in the face of so many unanticipated events."

The report's co-chairman, Laurent Lafon added: "The gravity of what happened at the Stade de France shows that there are many decisions to be taken to ensure this doesn't happen again at the Rugby World Cup or the Olympic Games."

He continued: "There was a need to communicate clearly about transporting the fans from the train station between the chief of police, the French Football Federation, and the train operators but this didn't happen.

"We recommend communicating with football supporters more and improving the attractiveness of the area around the Stade de France so that people are willing to arrive early.

"We want the authorities' view of football supporters to change, that is a strong recommendation that we are making."

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