Liverpool demanded an apology from France’s interior minister for blaming counterfeit ticket sales “on an industrial scale” for the chaos in Saturday’s Champions League final, and is exploring legal options for fans affected by the authorities’ miserable regulation.
Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan has described Gerald Darmanen’s claim that 30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans attended the Stade de France either without tickets or with fake tickets, as irresponsible, inflammatory and an attempt to shift blame. Liverpool president Tom Werner has written to Darmanin asking for an apology. “Your comments were irresponsible, unprofessional and completely disrespectful to the thousands of fans who have been physically and emotionally hurt,” Werner’s letter read.
Liverpool have asked fans to share their experiences via the club’s website as they gather information to investigate the chaotic scenes. Hogan, who played a key role in getting UEFA to postpone Saturday’s match, confirmed that Liverpool were looking into legal options for fans, many of whom were subjected to tear gas by French police, and that this would not affect a meeting between UEFA and the French. authorities on Monday.
Hogan said: “We have followed up on our request for an independent investigation with UEFA in writing. We have also expressed deep concern about the spread of misinformation and have urged UEFA to agree to an open and transparent investigation into all of Saturday night’s events and will continue to work to do so.”
And UEFA announced, on Monday evening, that it had mandated the preparation of an independent report on the events that would “examine the decision-making, responsibility and behavior of all bodies participating in the final”.
Hogan continued: “I also read in the media this afternoon that there was a meeting this morning with the French authorities, UEFA and a number of other stakeholders; however, we were not asked to contribute or provide any information prior to the meeting. We are also reviewing legal avenues.” available to us on behalf of the affected supporters.”
French Interior Minister and Sports Minister Amelie Odea Castera held a press conference after Monday’s meeting, blaming the dangerous scenes on Liverpool fans and the club itself. Odea Castera accused Liverpool of leaving fans “in the wild”.
Hogan replied: “We are incredibly surprised that anyone in this situation would ever comment at this point when we didn’t have enough time to understand what happened. There was no independent investigation to establish all the facts. This is the beginning of the process. When making very unhelpful comments We simply feel that everyone should focus on conducting the investigation properly and less on making inflammatory comments trying to blame responsibility for what happened Saturday night.
“What I would say is that our fans received information from UEFA to get to the stadium safely, and they did. They approached the stadium as instructed and on time. However, they experienced problems when they arrived at the stadium. Regarding the comments, we were in a state of lack of Total disbelief when it was brought to our attention earlier today. I think it is important for people to know that our President, Tom Werner, sent a letter to the French Minister to express our views and apologize to our audience for these comments.”
The Liverpool chief executive described the scenes outside the Stade de France as “extremely shameful” and questioned the interior minister’s figures. Hogan added: “I heard there were 40,000 people in the stadium without tickets – how can that be measured at this point before we conduct an independent and transparent investigation?
“There were also quotes about people with fake tickets; but again, how do we know all the facts so we can investigate? One of the facts we do know is that the Champions League final was supposed to be one of the best performances in football and resulted in one of the worst experiences in the lives of many fans. So I would say that all politicians and authorities involved in this event should wait until a full and independent investigation is completed before trying to assign blame.”