French minister mocked after blaming ‘ticketless British supporters’ for Stade de France chaos

Both Uefa and the French authorities were quick to blame Liverpoool fans for mayhem at the Champions League final but reports and video evidence from the ground paint a picture of disorganised, heavyhanded policing

Sports Staff
Sunday 29 May 2022 12:03
Comments
<p>Liverpool fans show their tickets outside the stadium</p>

Liverpool fans show their tickets outside the stadium

The French interior minister has been mocked for blaming “ticketless British supporters” for chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France as Paris hosted the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool.

Liverpool fans endured long waits, crushes, tear gas, as well as reports of some physical attacks by locals before and after the game.

Uefa initially delayed the 8pm GMT kick-off, blaming “the late arrival of fans”. The governing body then issued a statement: “In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles.”

Afterwards, perhaps keen to protect reputations as the French capital played host to the biggest club game in the world, French minister Gerald Darmanin was quick to attribute blame. From his position inside the stadium, Darmanin tweeted: “Thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets or with counterfeit tickets, forced entry and assaulted stewards. Thank you to the many police forces mobilised this evening in this difficult situation.”

However, The Independent’s reporter on the ground discovered a different picture, with frustrated fans carrying legitimate tickets made to wait for several hours outside and funnelled into dangerously tight spaces, before being hit with tear gas.

The Mail on Sunday’s chief football writer, Rob Draper, was caught in mayhem and tweeted his experience in detail, sensing danger in the police’s operational strategy to use riot vans as blockers to funnel fans into a narrow space outside the ground, long before the situation escalated.

One Liverpool fan tweeted pictures of a boy’s badly cut face, writing: “2 hours queuing. Only got in for half time. tear gassed 4 times despite the fact we were nothing but peaceful. 14 year year old cousin beat up by people trying to steal his ticket. don’t let them blame us!!!!!”

The replies to Darmanin were mocking. “Once again you are lying,” one wrote in French. “The culprits are no more British than you!”

Another replied: “Buy yourself glasses! You are ridiculous, all the pictures show that they are not English.”

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. Other people outside, including children, were tear-gassed by riot police, a Reuters witness said.

Some riot police officers stormed into the stadium while others charged at people trying to knock down stadium gates.

Uefa said it would review the events together with the French authorities and the French Football Federation, in a statement welcomed by the British ambassador in Paris, Menna Rawlings.

“We need to establish the facts,” Rawlings tweeted, adding her “commiserations” to Liverpool after a “valiant performance” in their 1-0 defeat by Real.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in