Thursday, March 23, 2023

France blames ticket fraud for Champions League final mess

PARIS ( Associated Press) – French officials on Monday defended police for indiscriminately spraying tear gas and pepper spray on Liverpool supporters in the Champions League final, while blaming an industrial level of fraud that saw 30,000 to 40,000 people buy fake tickets. He tried to enter the Stade de France. 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 the tickets arriving at the Stade de France were counterfeit tickets,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmin 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 the delay occurred,” 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. 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. Too much pressure to survive,” Darmin said. “It was a decision made by the prefecture to avoid any kind of death or grievous injury.”

French Sports Minister Amelie Oueda-Castera blamed fans arriving late at 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 cannot go to the stadium should be compensated, but ignored questions as he skipped the news conference where Ouéda-Castera.

Oueda-Castera said, “We are extremely sorry for all those whose experience was ruined that evening.” “For those who bought tickets and were unable to attend the match. So we have asked UEFA to actually work out a compensation system for those people – 2,700, including the British ones – so that they can be compensated. meet.”

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.

Associated Press Sportswriter Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report

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