UEFA orders review after France blames Champions League chaos on 'fans with fake tickets'

30 May 2022, 09:31 | Updated: 30 May 2022, 20:20

Kids seen crying after Liverpool fans were tear-gassed by police at Champions League final in Paris

By Patrick Grafton-Green

UEFA has ordered an independent review into the events surrounding the Champions League final between Liverpool and real Madrid.

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European football's governing body has appointed Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues to lead a comprehensive report into the problems Liverpool fans faced in Paris on Saturday.

French officials have blamed English travelling fans "with no tickets or fake tickets" after chaotic scenes outside the Champions League final that saw children pepper sprayed.

In an update today, following talks on the incident, France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin blamed "massive fraud at an industrial level" for the scenes outside the match that saw only half of Liverpool's fans make it inside for kick off.

Mr Darmanin said the "massive presence of fake tickets meant there were delays of up to three times in processing people entering the game".

He said between 30,000 and 40,000 travelling fans arrived at the Stade de France either without a ticket or with fake tickets.

READ MORE: 'Shameful to blame fans': Liverpool Mayor demands UEFA answers after Paris chaos

Champions League Final footage

He did express "regret" at the chaotic scenes, saying the event was organised in the space of three months where usually a final of such size takes between 12 to 18 months to plan.

His comments double down on earlier claims from French ministers who laid the blame on Liverpool fans.

A statement from the European governing body UEFA read: "UEFA has today announced it has commissioned an independent report into the events surrounding the UEFA Champions League final in Paris on Saturday, May 28.

"The comprehensive review will examine decision-making, responsibility and behaviours of all entities involved in the final."

Shambolic scenes unfolded outside the stadium as fans with tickets were made to wait in huge queues before French police used tear gas and violent clashes broke out.

A total of 174 people were injured and 68 were arrested as police officers with batons and riot shields were deployed on Saturday evening.

The policing of the match has been slammed by football fans, politicians and authorities in the UK.

Liverpool fans stuck outside the stadium on Saturday evening
Liverpool fans stuck outside the stadium on Saturday evening. Picture: Alamy

However, earlier this morning France's sports minister reiterated the view of the French government that initial crowd problems in Paris were caused by Liverpool fans without valid tickets.

Amelie Oudea-Castera told French radio station RTL: "What we really have to bear in mind is that what happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets.

"When there are that many people by the entrance to the stadium, there will be people trying to force their way in through the doors of the Stade de France, and a certain number of youths from the nearby area who were present tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd."

Chris Philp calls for an 'urgent' UEFA investigation

Cabinet minister Chris Philp told LBC's Nick Ferrari an "urgent investigation" was required.

"UEFA need to investigate exactly what happened so we can get to the bottom of it," he said.

"The pictures that I saw last night circulating on social media and on the TV showed fans, including children and disabled fans, who were quite clearly not causing any kind of trouble getting pepper sprayed so I was deeply concerned by what I saw."

A police officer uses pepper spray
A police officer uses pepper spray. Picture: Alamy

It comes as another French football match was marred by ugly scenes on Sunday, with Saint-Etienne's relegation from Ligue 1 after a play-off defeat against Auxerre sparking a pitch invasion by angry fans.

Tear gas was used by police armed with batons and shields after flares were thrown at the stands and towards the players' tunnel.

Over the weekend, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston joined Liverpool in urging UEFA to launch a formal investigation into what caused the entry issues around the Champions League final.

"The footage and accounts from Liverpool fans and the media on their entry to the Stade de France last night are deeply concerning," Ms Dorries said.

"Thousands of ticket holders travelled to Paris in good time to support their team in the biggest match of their season.

Tear gas sprayed outside Champions League final

"I urge UEFA to launch a formal investigation into what went wrong and why, in co-ordination with stadium staff, the French Police, the French football federation, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Football Club."

Huddleston tweeted: "It is yet to be explained why access to the Stade de France was so limited which led to some @LFC fans, including the young and elderly, being attacked with tear gas and unable to reach their seats.

"A full and urgent investigation must be launched by @UEFA and French authorities."

Fans waited for hours to gain access to ground
Fans waited for hours to gain access to ground. Picture: Alamy

UEFA said the delays were caused by "thousands of fans" trying to gain entry with fake tickets which would not work in the turnstiles.

The Paris police prefecture said these supporters "employed strong force" in an attempt to gain entry and delayed the entrance of those with genuine tickets.

The police said others then sought to capitalise on this and breached the fences.

Sports writer discusses violence at Champions League final

"The rapid intervention of security forces allowed calm to return and helped remove the disruptors from the surroundings of the Stade de France," a force statement read.

On Sunday afternoon, Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan reiterated the club's stance on the unsavoury events.

He told LFCTV: "The stadium entry and breakdown of security in the perimeter was absolutely unacceptable and frankly the treatment of our fans as well. We are intent on ensuring there is an independent investigation.

"It is absolutely imperative we understand what happened last night and how we got into that situation where people's safety was put at risk. It's important we take whatever lessons there are and ensure it never happens again."