Liverpool fans have been unfairly blamed for the chaos that disrupted the Champions League final by bumbling officials who failed to properly organize the main event and are due an apology, a Paris deputy mayor has said.
Richard Bouigue, the deputy mayor of the 12th ward who hosted a Liverpool fan zone before Saturday’s match, sent a letter to supporters in which he wrote: “The time for official denial is over, the time for official denial must be imposed. apologies.”
Liverpool fans in Paris for the final, who lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, complained of dangerous crushes and long delays getting into the Stade de France for the game, which ended with police firing tear gas and beating at people with batons.
Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the sports minister, later blamed supporters, saying tens of thousands had turned up with false tickets and attacked stewards when denied entry.
Mr. Darmanin and Ms. Oudéa-Castéra will face questioning in the Senate today, and the chairman of the legal commission, François-Noël Buffet, said he intends to ask the two to show how they established that so many tickets were fake.
Clumsy officials and not rowdy fans are to blame for the chaos of Saturday’s Champions League final, said a deputy mayor of Paris (pictured French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and sports minister , Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, at a press conference during which they blamed the fans)
A Liverpool fan is tear-gassed outside the Stade de France during chaotic scenes at the Champions League final on Saturday.
In an open letter to a group of Liverpool fans, Paris Deputy Mayor Richard Bouigue praised the fans for their behavior and blamed the organisers.
Before the hearing, Bouigue played down his apologies in a letter to the fan group. Shankley’s Spiritsaying that almost 45,000 of those same fans had visited his section of the capital earlier that day and had been ‘kind and respectful’.
Taking a look at the organizational nightmare officials faced after the match was moved from St. Petersburg at the last minute due to sanctions on Russia, he said the 12th district was chosen to host fans “late” and without any query.
“I can’t hide the fact that many local residents and merchants were concerned,” he wrote. ‘Stereotypes about English fans are hard to break. But you knew how 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 will reimburse fans
UEFA has promised to compensate the 2,700 ticket holders who were deprived of the chance to watch Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris.
The start of the match was delayed 36 minutes when chaos reigned at the turnstiles and many Liverpool fans were prevented from entering the stadium.
Some of those supporters were also sprayed with pepper spray and tear gas by French riot police.
Many were finally able to access the ground after the match started, but others missed the game entirely.
“We have asked UEFA, who agreed with us, that these people be accurately identified and receive immediate compensation,” French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said.
Revealing himself as a Tottenham fan, he said he was sorry he hadn’t been a better host and insisted the venues, businesses and residents would improve “next time”.
He added: “That is why I would now also like to express my deep regret for the serious incidents that took place at the beginning of the night at the Stade de France…
“I am bitterly sorry that Liverpool fans have been criticized and told that they are solely responsible for the lack of organization of the final…
“The fans are not schizophrenics: Dr. Jekyll in the morning and Mr. Hyde at night… The time for official denial is over, the time for apologies must be imposed.”
Describing the scenes around the French national stadium as a “fiasco” reminiscent of Hillsborough, he blamed the chaos on “organizational dysfunctions” and a “lack of order maintenance”.
‘At the end of this, you will allow me to keep the memory of this incredible Crimson Tide that swept through our district, that proudly displayed its colours, and blared its songs and anthems. Thank you for sharing this moment with us,’ he said.
Bouigue spoke after a French Interior Ministry source accused the government of launching a “cover-up” by blaming Liverpool fans in an attempt to draw criticism away from themselves.
The incident is particularly embarrassing because it comes ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympics, which are due to take place in Paris.
The official told investigative news outlet Mediapart: “Accusing English supporters is nonsense.” The Paris police headquarters should have recognized his mistakes.
But instead Paris police prefect Didier Lallement fabricated a figure of ’70 per cent of Liverpool fans’ arriving on the pitch with fake tickets, the source claimed.
‘The communication was initiated by the Prefecture, continued the Minister. It’s a mistake,’ the source said.
UEFA has launched an investigation after footage of Liverpool fans being tear-gassed by police was published.
Bouigue said Liverpool fans had been unfairly blamed for the chaos at the Stade de France, and urged officials to apologise.
French police have been widely accused of being tough on mostly peaceful fans (Pictured: A police officer and attendant hold a fan inside the stadium by the turnstiles on May 28)
Having deployed 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 “according to information gathered from various public and private operators”.
The FFF concluded that there were ‘an additional 35,000 people in possession of counterfeit tickets or no tickets’ in the vicinity of the stadium and that they ’caused public disorder by blocking the stadium gates and preventing some real ticket holders from entering before kick-off. of the match scheduled for 9:00 p.m.
A senior gendarmerie official supported the Interior Ministry official, saying: ‘These statements mark the double bankruptcy of a ministry that not only does not know how to manage a sporting event of this magnitude but follows the statements of a dangerous and uncontrolled Prefect .
‘In other countries, the resignation of the Minister and the Prefect would have been worth it. But in France lies are added to police violence to cover it up without this being a problem.
Other senior police officials said specialized riot squads trained to deal with urban disturbances should not have been in the final.
These so-called ‘Brav’ units wear helmets and bulletproof vests and are known for using tear gas and batons.
“Putting Brav on hold for companies that have no experience managing supporters for a sporting event of this magnitude is nonsense,” one of the sources said.
He said they “created the violence associated with the anti-government Yellow Yest movement” that sparked riots in the streets of major cities during President Emmanuel Macron’s first administration.
Referring to the prestigious 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 Olympic Games, this does not bode well.”
There was a delay before the match started to allow fans outside the stadium to enter.
UEFA, the body for European football, is launching an independent investigation into the treatment of Liverpool fans over the weekend.
Critics have accused French ministers of using Liverpool fans as scapegoats to mask their own failings and the role of local thugs.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The images from the Stade de France this weekend were deeply disturbing and worrying. We know that many Liverpool fans traveled to Paris in time… and we are very disappointed.”
Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has demanded an apology for the club’s treatment of fans after
Werner, part of the US-based Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool, said in a leaked letter sent Monday to French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera that it was “absolutely incredulous” at his comments. about chaos.
Oudea-Castera initially blamed Liverpool for helping to cause the chaos, telling a French radio station that the club did not properly organize their supporters who went to Paris.