Liverpool fans have been unfairly blamed for the chaos that disrupted the Champions League final by clumsy officials who failed to stage the showpiece event properly and who are to apologize, a deputy has told the mayor of Paris.
Richard Bouigue, deputy mayor of the 12th arrondissement which hosted a Liverpool fan zone ahead of Saturday’s game, hit out in a letter to supporters in which he wrote: “The time for official denial is over, the time for apologies must be imposed .”
Liverpool fans in Paris for the final – which they lost 1-0 to Real Madrid – have complained of dangerous crushes and long delays entering the Stade de France for the match, which ended in tear gas and beatings by the police.
Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the sports minister, later blamed the supporters – saying tens of thousands of people showed up with fake tickets and attacked the fans. stewards when they were refused entry.
Mr Darmanin and Ms Oudéa-Castéra face a fence in the Senate today, with law commission chairman François-Noël Buffet saying he intended to ask the couple to prove how they had established that so many tickets were fake.
Clumsy officials and not rowdy supporters are to blame for the chaos of Saturday’s Champions League final, said a deputy mayor of Paris (pictured, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra during a press conference during which they blamed the supporters)
A Liverpool fan is sprayed with tear gas outside the Stade de France in chaotic scenes during Saturday’s Champions League final
In an open letter to a group of Liverpool supporters, Paris deputy mayor Richard Bouigue praised the supporters for their behavior and blamed the organisers.
Ahead of the hearing, Mr Bouigue dismissed their apology in a letter to the Spirit of Shankley fan group, saying nearly 45,000 of those same fans had visited his section of the capital earlier in the day and had been “friendly and respectful”.
Giving insight into the organizational nightmare faced by officials after the Saint Petersburg match was moved at the last minute due to Russia sanctions, he said the 12th district had been chosen to host fans “late” and without any consultation.
“I can’t hide the fact that many local residents and business people were worried,” he wrote. “The stereotypes about English fans are hard to break. But you were able to reassure everyone, bring life to a neighborhood, animate it with your songs, your enthusiasm and your good humor.
“I want to sincerely thank you for that.”
UEFA reimburses supporters
UEFA has promised to compensate 2,700 ticket holders who were denied the opportunity to attend Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris.
The start of the match was delayed by 36 minutes as chaos reigned at the turnstiles with many Liverpool supporters barred from entering the stadium.
Some of those supporters were also sprayed with pepper spray and tear gas by French riot police.
Many eventually made it to the ground after the match started, but others missed the game altogether.
“We have asked UEFA, which agrees with us, that these people be precisely identified and receive immediate compensation,” said French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera.
Proving to be a Tottenham fan, he said he regretted not being a better host – insisting locals, businesses and residents will do better “next time”.
He added: “This is why I would also now like to express my deep regret for the serious incidents that took place at the start of the evening at the Stade de France…
“I bitterly regret that Liverpool supporters were singled out for criticism and held solely responsible for the failure to stage the final…
“The fans are not schizophrenic: Dr Jekyll in the morning and Mr Hyde in the evening… The time for official denials is over, we must impose the time for apologies.”
Describing the scenes around France’s national stadium as a ‘fiasco’ reminiscent of Hillsborough, he blamed ‘dysfunctions in organisation’ and a ‘lack of policing’ for the chaos.
“At the end of it, you will allow me to keep the memory of this incredible red tide which spread over our district, which proudly displayed its colors, and made its songs and hymns resound. Thank you for sharing this moment with us,” he said.
Mr Bouigue spoke out after a source in France’s Interior Ministry accused the government of launching a ‘cover-up’ by blaming Liverpool supporters, in a bid to deflect criticism away from them themselves.
The incident is particularly embarrassing as it comes ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympics, both of which are due to take place in Paris.
The official told investigative media outlet Mediapart: “Accusing English supporters is simply nonsense. The Paris police headquarters should have admitted their mistakes.
But instead Paris police chief Didier Lallement fabricated a figure of “70% of Liverpool fans” arriving on the pitch with fake tickets, the source claimed.
“The communication was initiated by the prefecture, followed the minister. It’s a mistake,” the source said.
UEFA have now launched an investigation after photos of Liverpool supporters being gassed by police emerged.
Mr Bouigue said Liverpool fans had been unfairly blamed for the chaos at the Stade de France, as he urged officials to issue an apology.
French police have been widely accused of being brutal with largely peaceful supporters (pictured: a supporter is restrained by a police officer and steward inside the stadium by the turnstiles on May 28)
After deploying 1,650 security and ticketing staff, 25% more than a sold-out France home game, the FFF said 110,000 people went to the stadium “based on information collected with various public and private operators.
The FFF concluded that around the stadium there were “35,000 additional people in possession of counterfeit tickets or without tickets” and that they were “causing public disorder by blocking the gates of the stadium and preventing certain real ticket holders to enter before kick-off”. of the match scheduled for 9:00 p.m.
A senior gendarmerie officer backed the Interior Ministry official by saying: “These declarations mark the double bankruptcy of a ministry which not only does not know how to manage a sporting event of this magnitude but follows the declarations of a prefect dangerous and uncontrolled.
“In other countries, it would have been worth the resignation of the minister and the prefect. But in France, the lie is added to the police violence to cover it without this posing a problem.
Other senior police officers said specialist riot squads trained to deal with urban unrest should not have been present at the final.
These so-called “Brav” units wear helmets and bulletproof vests and are known to use tear gas and batons.
“Putting in Brav response companies who have no experience in managing fans for a sporting event of this magnitude is nonsense,” said one of the sources.
He said they “created the violence associated with the anti-government Yellow Yest movement” which caused riots on the streets of major cities during President Emmanuel Macron’s first administration.
Referring to the high-profile sporting events that will take place in France over the next two years, the police source said: “Fifteen months from the Rugby World Cup and twenty-four from the Olympics, this does not bode well. Well.”
There was a delay before kick-off to allow fans outside the stadium to enter
UEFA, the European football body, is launching an independent investigation into the treatment of Liverpool fans this weekend.
Critics have accused French ministers of scapegoating Liverpool supporters to cover up their own failures and the role of local thugs.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: ‘The images from Stade de France over the weekend were deeply moving and concerning. We know many Liverpool fans made it to Paris in good time…and we’re hugely disappointed.
Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has demanded an apology for the club’s treatment of fans after
Werner, who is part of US-based Fenway Sports Group and owner of Liverpool, said in a leaked letter sent to French Sports Minister Amélie Oudea-Castera on Monday that he remained “totally incredulous” at his comments. on chaos.
Oudea-Castera initially blamed Liverpool for contributing to the chaos, telling a French radio station that the club had failed to properly organize their supporters traveling to Paris.