Liverpool fans were forced to wait in long queues and were subjected to tear gas by French police ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris, despite having tickets.
UEFA has launched an investigation after shocking images of supporters be tear gas and pepper sprayed by the police were broadcast around the world. French politicians have claimed that thousands of fans poured into the stadium on Saturday. with counterfeit bills.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said: “There was massive industry-wide fraud and organization of false tickets, 70% of the tickets were false tickets entering the Stade de France.” And Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera claimed there were “30,000-40,000 people without tickets or with fake tickets.”
But a French Interior Ministry source was quoted on Tuesday as saying: “This complaint is an advertisement intended to try to cover up.” Speaking to Paris news outlet Mediapart, he added: “accusing the English fans is just nonsense.”
And a senior police source said: “In other countries it would have been worth the minister’s resignation. 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. The so-called ‘Brav’ units wear helmets and bulletproof vests and are known for using tear gas and batons.
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“Putting Brav on hold for companies that have no experience managing supporters for a sporting event of this magnitude is nonsense,” a source said.
And referring to the prestigious sporting events that will take place in France over the next two years, the source added: “Fifteen months from the Rugby World Cup and twenty-four from the Olympic Games, this does not bode well.”
Liverpool fans huddled outside locked gates as they waited in huge queues before the clash with real Madrid. The Anfield club accused authorities across the English Channel of trying to “deflect responsibility” for long delays at the turnstiles.
Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan called the comments “deeply unhelpful” and the club demanded an apology. UEFA says a thorough, independent review of the events will be carried out.
A spokesman for the prime minister boris johnson said earlier this week: “The images from the Stade de France this weekend were deeply disturbing and worrying. We know that many Liverpool fans traveled to Paris at a good time to support their team in one of the biggest games in Liverpool. the season and we are very disappointed. because of how they were treated.
“Fans deserve to know what happened, so we urge UEFA to work closely with the French authorities on a full investigation and publish those findings.”