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PARIS (Reuters) – France’s transport unions on Tuesday hailed the success of their strike during the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, which the French government said contributed to popular unrest in the tournament.
The government has mainly blamed massive ticket fraud and Liverpool’s troubled handling of its fans on Saturday, but it also said the transport strike had contributed to crowding near the Stade de France.
“The success of the strike during the Champions League final was a clear demonstration of the unions’ strength,” read a joint statement issued by the unions CGT and UNSA, which represent workers in the RER and RATP public transport networks in Paris.
Unions also threatened another strike on Friday in conjunction with France’s match against Denmark in the Nations League. Unions want better wages and working conditions.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the scenes outside the Stade de France, where some fans, including children, were subjected to tear gas by the French police as very disturbing, while Liverpool leader Tom Werner demanded an apology from the French sports minister.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Liverpool had provided their supporters with paper tickets rather than electronic ones, opening the door to the possibility of “significant fraud on an industrial scale”.
The crowd’s problems have become a political issue ahead of a general election next month and embarrass France, which hosts the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympic Games in 2024.