Officials at Stade de France reportedly found 2,800 “fake” tickets when they screened Liverpool fans for the Champions League final on Saturday.
AFP claimed that the figure was confirmed by stadium authorities and UEFA officials at a meeting with the French government on Monday.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin claimed on Monday that 30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans attended the match either without tickets or with fake tickets. He spoke of “large, industrial and organized scams with fake tickets.”
The much lower figure of 2,800 relates to tickets that were scanned by stadium officials and not issued by the French government.
A number of Liverpool fans have said problems with the scanner have led to legitimate tickets being identified as fake.
Scenes outside the stadium before the match, where thousands of Liverpool fans crowded into a confined space while waiting for hours to enter the stadium, sparked international outrage. Fans reported oppressive treatment by the police, including the use of tear gas, and several attacks by local criminals while they waited to stomp on the ground.
AFP said it had seen a report sent to French officials claiming that as many as 50,000 Liverpool fans had arrived in Paris without legal entry to the match.
According to AFP, a media note from the National Riot Division (DNLH) police agency claimed: “ [Liverpool fans] He will get fake tickets and try to use them to get to the stadium. Others will attempt to enter the ring by deception, for example using the uniforms of the hosts, UEFA, cleaners or medical staff.”
Liverpool demanded an apology for Darmanin’s comments. Chairman Billy Hogan confirmed that the club is exploring the possibility of legal action and Chairman Tom Werner wrote to Darmanin: “Your comments were irresponsible, unprofessional and completely disrespectful to the thousands of fans who have been physically and emotionally hurt.”
On Monday, UEFA announced that it would launch an independent investigation. A former minister in the Portuguese government and a member of the Board of Directors of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Dr. Tiago Brandão Rodrigues has been appointed to lead the review.
The deputy mayor of the 12th arrondissement of Paris, where the fan zone was set up in Liverpool, has called for an investigation into the failures of the French authorities at the Stade de France.
Richard Puig, who worked with Liverpool and their supporters in organizing the fan zone at the Place de la Nation, has written to Shankly’s Spirit Federation to applaud the behavior of the fans.
“I deeply regret that Liverpool supporters have been criticized and that they alone are to blame for the failure to organize the final,” Puig wrote. “We have to cut the useless controversy, establish the facts and compare them with the smooth running of the ‘fan zone’. The fans are not schizophrenics: Dr. Jekyll in the morning and Mr. Hyde in the evening at the Stade de France. The time for official denial is over, time for apology must be issued.
“I am sorry for the disruptions in the organization of the game and the failure to maintain order that led to this real failure. We owe it to you – and ourselves – to carry out a serious and thorough investigation, which is due to take place over the next few days, with the participation of representatives of Liverpool fans and the relevant English authorities.”
Puig compares the chaos at the Stade de France to the arrangement in the fan zone, where he estimates that 45,000 Liverpool fans were present. However, French police used tear gas to disperse the crowd after the match.
“I cannot hide the fact that many locals and shopkeepers are concerned – stereotypes about English fans are hard to break,” he writes. “But you managed to calm everyone down, bring the neighborhood back to life, bring it to life with your songs, your enthusiasm and your sense of humor. I want to thank you very much for that.”