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Champions League final: France blames chaos on ‘mass gathering’ of Liverpool fans without valid tickets

The French sports minister has blamed Liverpool fans who turned up without valid tickets for the chaos at the Champions League final.

Amelie Oudea-Castera said: “What happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets.”

She spoke before a meeting with UEFA and other officials to discuss violent scenes that have prompted criticism of the Paris police.

They repeatedly fired tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool fans waiting to get into the stadium in Paris on Saturday for a game their team lost 1-0 to Real Madrid.

Ms Oudea-Castera said the meeting – which included police, stadium officials and the French Football Association – had been arranged in an effort to “draw lessons” from the event.

She is to hold a news conference later today.

Read more:
What actually happened at the Stade de France?

The UK has demanded a full investigation into what happened.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries urged UEFA to launch a formal inquiry, saying the footage and accounts from Liverpool fans and the media were “deeply concerning”.

“It is in the interests of everyone involved to understand what happened and to learn lessons from these events,” she said.

Several British MPs expressed their support.

Minister Chris Philp said he was “horrified” to see pictures of children and disabled fans being pepper sprayed, and that was aware of “no obvious justification”.

He told Sky News’ Kay Burley: “We need UEFA to properly investigate exactly what happened and get to the bottom of it.”

Ian Byrne, the Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, was at the match in Paris and said he had never witnessed such scenes since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster that left 97 Liverpool fans dead after a crush developed at Sheffield’s Hillsborough stadium.

He said he was seeing a similar “narrative of lies” beginning to build.

French police and UEFA, European football’s governing body, have blamed Liverpool fans, but the club and Merseyside Police dispute their accounts.

Gerard Darmanin, the French interior minister, said ticketless British fans had caused delays that led to thousands of fans being stuck outside the perimeter fence for hours.

UEFA said “thousands of fans” had tried to get in using fake tickets, which would not work on turnstiles.

The Paris police prefecture said they then “employed strong force” to try to enter the venue, prompting others to do the same.

Mr Byrne has written to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, urging her to demand a formal investigation and apologies from UEFA and French authorities.

“I think we’ve got to make sure that the scenes that we experienced on Saturday are never ever replicated again at any sporting occasion,” he told Sky News.

“The Stade de France holds many different sporting finals – it’s got the Rugby World Cup, the Olympics (2024).

“We need to make sure that lessons are learned from what happened.”

In his letter, he said: “The French authorities and UEFA are quite simply covering their own backs with this narrative.

‘One of the most horrendous experiences of my life’

“As a Liverpool fan, I was in Paris for the match and I can honestly say that the situation outside the ground was one of the most horrendous experiences of my life – and as a Hillsborough survivor, I do not make this comment lightly.”

He called for an end to the treatment of football fans as “second-class citizens” and “animals”.

Liverpool FC and Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson have also requested a formal investigation.

Merseyside Police observers said the majority of supporters waiting outside the security perimeter had behaved in an “exemplary” manner, which did not justify the use of tear gas.

The chemical was reportedly deployed again at the fan zone on the Cours de Vincennes after the final whistle.

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson told Sky Sports News it had “not been well organised” and that staff had wrongly said a ticket had given to a friend was counterfeit.

Fellow defender Joel Matip’s brother and pregnant sister-in-law were reportedly forced to flee.



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