PARIS (Parliament Politics Magazine ) – Despite widespread criticism of the event’s policing on Saturday, France’s sports minister claims that spectators without tickets created initial crowd difficulties at the Champions League final in Paris.
The mayhem at the stadium, according to Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, was caused by a “mass gathering” of supporters with false tickets.
She further claimed that local youths attempting to push their way exacerbated the situation.
The police response, however, has been branded as very alarming by the UK’s Culture Secretary, who has called for an investigation.
On Saturday evening, French police faced criticism for using tear gas and pepper spray on some Liverpool fans while they were waiting to enter the stadium.
Police have faced accusations of producing a large crowd by closing a road leading to the stadium beneath an underpass.
The final was delayed by 35 minutes due to a scuffle outside the Stade de France, with Liverpool losing 1-0 to Real Madrid of Spain.
Ms Oudéa-remarks Castéra’s remarks came ahead of a meeting with the sports ministry of France, Uefa, stadium administrators, the French Football Association, and police later on Monday to “draw lessons” from the occurrence.
First and foremost, what had happened was that a vast assembly of British Liverpool supporters without tickets, or with fraudulent tickets, Ms Oudéa-Castéra told French radio RTL.
However, she claimed that more individuals from the surrounding area attempted to force their way into the Stade de France, where the match was held.
A number of youths from the surrounding region had been there and had attempted to gain entry by blending in with the crowd, the minister stated.
She also expressed regret for the damage tear gas had on families and children.
Real supporters had “no problems,” according to the French minister, and Real had greater control of their travelling fans than Liverpool.
The large majority of Liverpool fans showed up early at the turnstiles and acted in a “exemplary manner,” according to Merseyside police, who are responsible for policing in Liverpool and were present in Paris.
On Saturday, television images showed young men not wearing red Liverpool shirts jumping the gates of the stadium and fleeing from security.
Long lines had formed hours before the game began, according to Liverpool fans.
After they were pepper-sprayed, Tom Whitehurst said he had to move his crippled son “out of the way.”
The way Uefa and the police had treated supporters was an utter disgrace, he remarked. [Fans] had been pepper-sprayed indiscriminately, and there had been people with tickets who had come two-and-a-half hours early, who had been queuing up, and there were others with tickets who had arrived two-and-a-half hours early, who were queuing up and had been charged at by riot police with shields, he said.
It was the most terrifying experience he had ever had at a football event, said BBC sports journalist Nick Parrott, who was in Paris. Locals were “trying to force their way in, resulting in security closing the gates and keeping legitimate fans with tickets out,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Liverpool player Andy Robertson has described the final’s organisation as a “shambles,” claiming that he gave a legitimate ticket to a friend who was told it was a fake and denied access to the game.
The acts of the French police were branded as “absolutely disgusting” by Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson, who was also present at the final.
Ms Anderson, speaking on BBC Breakfast, said that when the game was delayed and she noticed that many Liverpool seats were empty, she wanted to stroll around the stadium to investigate what was going on, knowing that others with tickets had been unable to get in.
Seeing all the Liverpool fans crammed together, yelling at officials or stewards, and then having the riot police come over and pepper spray them.
The wild events had turned into a political embarrassment for France, which was to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympic Games in 2024.