French football to blame game after ‘chaotic’ Champions League final


© Reuters. Soccer – UEFA Champions League final – Liverpool vs Real Madrid – Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France – May 28, 2022 Police and fans at the turnstiles in the stadium as the match was postponed REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach


PARIS (Reuters) – The chaotic scenes at France’s National Stadium before and during the Champions League final on Saturday night were described as a national embarrassment, while the French minister accused Liverpool fans of causing trouble.

The final between Liverpool and Real Madrid was delayed by 35 minutes after police tried to stop those trying to force their way into the Stade de France without tickets, while some ticket holders complained they were not allowed in.

Television footage showed what appeared to be a young man in a red Liverpool shirt jumping the stadium gate and fleeing. A Reuters witness said others outside, including children, were tear-gassed by riot police.

Some riot police stormed the stadium, while others rushed towards those trying to knock down the stadium gate.

European football governing body UEFA blamed fake tickets for the problem and said it would review the incidents with French authorities and the French Football Federation, which British ambassador to Paris Mena Rollins welcomed.

“We need to get the facts right,” Rollins wrote on Twitter, expressing “sympathy” for Liverpool after their “heroic performance” in their 1-0 win over Real Madrid.

France’s interior and sports ministers put the blame squarely on “British” supporters.

Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin thanked French police on Twitter (NYSE: ): “Thousands of UK ‘supporters’ without any tickets or holdings Fake tickets, forced entry and sometimes violence against stadium staff.”

“The intrusion and fraudulent attempts by thousands of UK supporters complicate the job of stadium staff and police, but will not sully the victory,” tweeted Sports Minister Amelie Odia-Castella road.

UEFA urges investigation

UK Sports Minister Nadine Dorries has urged UEFA to investigate the incident.

“The footage and reports of Liverpool fans and the media entering the Stade de France last night are deeply concerning,” Dorries said in a statement issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Sunday.

“I urge UEFA, in coordination with stadium staff, French police, (French Football Federation), Merseyside Police and Liverpool FC, to launch a formal investigation into what the problem is and why.”

“It is in the interest of all involved to understand what happened and learn from those incidents.”

About 68 people had been arrested as of 1:20 local time on Sunday, while medics had intervened 238 times for those with minor injuries, Paris police said in a statement.

“Before the game, the floodgates at the Liverpool end were blocked by thousands of fans buying fake tickets that didn’t work in the floodgates,” UEFA said in a statement on Saturday night.

Liverpool FC also issued a statement, saying: “We are extremely disappointed by the access issues Liverpool fans are facing and the breach of security borders.

“We have formally requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”

The stadium scene sparked outrage in France, with politicians on all sides calling it a national disgrace.

“This is a disgrace to France!” tweeted Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, the far-right former presidential candidate.

Even some in French President Emmanuel Macron’s camp lamented the events that took place two years before Paris hosted the Olympics.

“Melee at the Stade de France, brawls in bars, green spaces turned to rubbish… One observation: we are not ready for the Paris 2024 Olympics,” Natalie Lowe, a European MP for Macron’s party Vasso said on Twitter.

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