2022 – Football blamed on France after a chaotic Reuters Champions League final


© Reuters. Football РUEFA Champions League Final РLiverpool vs Real Madrid РStade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France РMay 28, 2022 Police officers with fans at the turnstiles inside the stadium as the match was postponed. REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach


PARIS (Reuters) – Chaotic scenes in France’s Stade Nationale before and during the Champions League final on Saturday night were described as a national embarrassment, while French ministers blamed Liverpool fans for the problems.

The final between Liverpool and Real Madrid started 35 minutes late after police tried to prevent people from trying to enter the Stade de France without tickets, with some ticket holders complaining that they were not allowed in.

Television images showed young men, apparently not wearing Liverpool shirts, jumping over the stadium gates and running away. A Reuters witness said riot police shot other people outside, including children, with tear gas.

Some riot police rushed into the stadium while others attacked people who tried to demolish the stadium gates.

The European Football Association, UEFA, blamed fake tickets as the cause of the problem, and said it would review the events with the French authorities and the French Football Federation, in a statement welcomed by Britain’s ambassador to Paris, Mina Rawlings.

“We need to get the facts straight,” Rawlings wrote on Twitter, adding her “sympathy” to Liverpool after their “courageous performance” in the 1-0 loss to Real Madrid.

And the ministers of home and sports in France blame supporters of the “British”.

“Thousands of British fans, without tickets or forged tickets, entered the stadium and at times used violence against stadium staff,” Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter (NYSE) and thanked the French police.

“Attempted robberies and fraud by thousands of English fans have complicated the work of the stadium staff and police, but they will not spoil this victory,” Sports Minister Amelie Odea Castera wrote on Twitter.

UEFA pressed for inquiries

Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan said the treatment of their fans was “unacceptable” and the club wanted a “transparent investigation” by UEFA.

“We are committed to ensuring that there is an independent investigation and will be fully and as a club involved in this matter,” Hogan said in a video message on Sunday.

“We understand that many different trials were conducted over the course of the evening and it is essential to hear from supporters.

“We want to make sure we get the facts and make those facts available to the relevant authorities… In the coming days we will put in place a mechanism for supporters to contact us directly.”

British Sports Minister Nadine Doris also called on UEFA to open an investigation.

“The footage and reports of Liverpool fans and the media about their move to the Stade de France last night is deeply disturbing,” Doris said in a statement issued by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Sunday.

“I am calling on UEFA to open a formal investigation into what went wrong and why, in coordination with the stadium staff, the French police, the French Football Federation, Merseyside Police and Liverpool FC.

“It is in everyone’s best interest to understand what happened and learn lessons from these events.”

Paris police said in a statement that about 68 people had been arrested by 1:20 a.m. local time on Sunday, while there were 238 interventions by paramedics for people with very slight injuries.

UEFA issued a statement late on Saturday saying: “In the run-up to the match, the turnstiles at the end of Liverpool were blocked by thousands of fans who bought fake tickets that did not operate at the gates.”

The scenes in the stadium sparked an outcry in France, with politicians on all sides calling it a national disgrace.

“It’s a disgrace to France!” Nicolas Dupont Aignan, a former far-right presidential candidate, said on Twitter.

Even some in the camp of French President Emmanuel Macron lamented the events that occurred two years before the Paris Olympics.

“Stade de France brawl, brawl in bars, destruction of green spaces…One note: we are not ready for the Paris 2024 Olympics,” Nathalie Loiseau, a member of the European Parliament in Macron’s party, said on Twitter.