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Liverpool CEO and local MP reject Champions League final trouble accusations from French officials

French sports minister blamed ticketless fans for chaotic scenes at Stade de France.

30 May 2022 PA

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Attempts by officials in France to blame fans without tickets for the chaotic scenes at the Uefa Champions League final have been met with rebukes by UK politicians and executives at English soccer giants Liverpool.

French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera accused fans with fake tickets for causing the problems in Paris, which saw local police use pepper spray and tear gas at Liverpool supporters ahead of their 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid at the Stade de France.

“What happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets,” Oudea-Castera told French radio station RTL.

“A certain number of youths from the nearby area who were present tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd.”

However, Ian Byrne, the Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, attended the match in Paris and said he had not seen such organisational chaos since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. In the aftermath of the European soccer showpiece, Byrne wrote to UK foreign secretary Liz Truss with a list of seven demands, including a formal probe and apologies, aimed at Uefa and the French authorities.

He wrote: ‘The French authorities and Uefa are quite simply covering their own backs with this narrative.

‘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.’

Merseyside Police observers described the behaviour of the vast majority of supporters as ‘exemplary’, while their counterparts from the Paris prefecture said some had ’employed strong force’ in a bid to get into the stadium.

Immediately after the final on 28th May, Liverpool confirmed the club had officially requested a formal investigation into what they described as ‘unacceptable issues’. Club chief executive Billy Hogan told Liverpool’s in-house media channel the treatment of fans was “absolutely unacceptable” and that “people’s safety was put at risk”.

The local authorities, police and final organisers were due to meet on 30th May, to review events outside the stadium.

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