Paris: France’s sports minister said today that Liverpool fans without valid tickets were responsible for initial crowd problems at the Champions League final, with the problem then exacerbated by local youths trying to force their way in to the game.
Some French far-right politicians, such as Eric Zemmour, said the crowd trouble at Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid was caused principally by local youths from the nearby Seine Saint-Denis Paris suburb.
“What we really have to bear in mind is that what happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets,” French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said.
Forcing way in
“When there are that many people by the entrance to the stadium, there will be people trying to force their way in through the doors of the Stade de France, and a certain number of youths from the nearby area who were present tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd,” she told French radio RTL.
The match kicked off with a 35-minute delay after police tried to hold back people attempting to force their way into the French national stadium without tickets, while some ticket holders complained they were not let in.
Television footage showed images of young men, who did not appear to be wearing the red Liverpool jerseys, jumping the gates of the stadium and running away. Others outside, including children, were tear-gassed by riot police, said a Reuters witness.
Chris Philp, Britain’s minister for technology, said he was shocked by the images.
“I was horrified to see those pictures of fans including children, disabled fans, being pepper sprayed by French police,” he added. “And from the pictures I saw there was no obvious justification for that kind of behaviour.”
The chaotic scenes at the French national stadium were branded a national embarrassment, with France due to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games.
Liverpool Chief Executive Billy Hogan said the treatment of Liverpool fans was “unacceptable” and the club wanted a “transparent investigation” by governing body UEFA.
Britain’s minister for sport, Nadine Dorries, also urged UEFA to launch an investigation.
French minister Oudea-Castera said there were “no problems” regarding Real Madrid supporters at Saturday’s match and that the Spanish side had managed to control their travelling fans better than Liverpool.