French authorities on Monday defended police for indiscriminately spraying tear gas and pepper spray on Liverpool supporters in the Champions League final, while blaming industrial levels of fraud, with 30,000 to 40,000 people carrying fake tickets at the Stade de France. Tried to login or not at all.
UEFA has ordered an independent report that it says will “examine the decision-making, responsibility and behavior of all entities involved in the final” and will be made public.
After a meeting in Saturday’s chaos, French ministers of sport and the interior shifted the responsibility on Liverpool fans, while not ensuring that so many counterfeit tickets were in circulation. People with valid tickets purchased through Liverpool and UEFA reported struggling to access the stadium.
“There was large-scale fraud on an industrial scale and an association of counterfeit tickets due to pre-filtering by the Stade de France and the French Football Federation, 70% of tickets arriving at the Stade de France were counterfeit tickets,” Interior Minister Gerald Darminin he said. “Fifteen percent of counterfeit tickets were also there after the first filtering … More than 2,600 tickets were confirmed by UEFA as non-valid tickets, even though they had previously gone through filtering.
The French sports ministry provided no evidence for its claims and did not respond to a follow-up email after hosting a belligerent news conference.
“The massive presence of these counterfeit tickets was certainly the issue as to why there were delays,” Dormanin said. “Three times the start of the match was delayed.”
The final, in which Liverpool lost 1–0 to Real Madrid, started 37 minutes late.
Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan said it was “completely unfair” for French officials to draw conclusions so quickly and comment on the numbers.
“At this stage I think it’s not a responsibility to comment before I’ve really gathered all the information,” Hogan said. “How can it be determined at this stage (number of un-ticketed fans) before we do an independent and transparent investigation? There are also quotes about people with fake tickets. But, again, we’re going to take all the facts. How do you know until we’ve investigated?”
Hogan said Liverpool were “reviewing the legal avenues” on behalf of supporters.
“The Champions League final should be one of football’s finest spectacles and it must result in one of the worst experiences in the lives of many supporters. Therefore, I would say that all politicians and agencies involved in the event are to be blamed and full-fledged.” The independent investigation ends before attempting to do so.”
Tear gas and pepper spray were targeted at Liverpool fans, affecting the children – a tactic defended by Darmine to prevent the deaths.
“I would also like to thank the forces of law and order who worked in the stadium because they were so quiet and they were able to avoid the play and therefore thanks to organizing the pre-filtering, but also lifting it from the play. A lot of pressure to survive,” Dormanin said. “It was a decision made by the prefecture to avoid any kind of death or grievous injury.”
French Sports Minister Amelie Oeda-Castera blamed fans arriving late to the stadium for crowd control issues, but did not say when they should have arrived at the stadium on the outskirts of Paris.
“We have seen, we have to improve some aspects in risky matches with respect to flow management, filtering first, filtering second, and we have to make sure we look at electronic ticketing as closely as possible so that we can avoid fraud Ticketing is concerned,” Oueda-Castera said. “It’s something that is absolutely necessary.”
Ouéda-Castera said supporters who could not go to the stadium should be compensated, but ignored questions as he skipped Ouéda-Castera’s news conference.
“We are extremely sorry for all those whose experience was ruined that evening,” Oueda-Castera said. “For those who bought tickets and were unable to attend the match. So we’ve asked UEFA to actually work out a system of compensation for those people – 2,700, including the British ones – so that they Get compensation.”
UEFA did not raise the issue of compensation to fans in its statement regarding its investigation.
“Evidence will be collected from all relevant parties and the findings of the independent report will be made public once it is completed,” UEFA said without giving a timeline.
French officials will set up a working group to stop violence in stadiums and target miscreants after looking into this season’s incidents in domestic games.
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