Hillsborough tragedy linked to heavy-handed policing of Paris final, report reveals

16 June 2022, 09:55 | Updated: 16 June 2022, 12:54

A French report has drawn parallels between the Champions League final and the Hillsborough disaster
A French report has drawn parallels between the Champions League final and the Hillsborough disaster. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Liverpool fans were targeted with tear gas and riot police were deployed because of a misconceived link between the Hillsborough disaster and hooliganism, according to an official French report into the Champions League final.

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The Champions League final at the Stade de France in May descended into chaos, with long queues and violent clashes breaking out between police and fans.

Some people had tear gas used against them, and the match was delayed by more than half an hour.

A report into the unrest has been compiled by Michel Cadot, the French sports ministry's delegate on major sporting events, for French prime minister Élisabeth Borne.

Read more: Jamie Carragher blasts 'cover-up' in wake of chaos at Champions League final

Watch: 'Heavy echoes of Hillsborough': Shelagh Fogarty's moving reaction to CL final chaos

The report, which was delivered to Ms Borne's office last Friday, recognises that the responsibility of the police for Hillsborough "was pointed out".

A report into the unrest has been compiled by Michel Cadot, the French sports ministry's delegate on major sporting event, for French prime minister Élisabeth Borne.tive phenomena of hooliganism and havoc".

Fans were tear gassed at the Champions League final
Fans were tear gassed at the Champions League final. Picture: Alamy

The 30-page report, obtained by the Guardian, also reiterates a claim that part of the problem at the Stade de France was a large number of Liverpool fans with fake tickets.

However it did acknowledge that Liverpool supporters do not have a history of violence at football matches.

Read more: France says 'sorry' for use of tear gas after blaming Liverpool fans with fake tickets

The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal human crush during a football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Yorkshire in 1989.

A total of 97 people died - 94 on the day, another days later, another in 1993 and another in 2021, after suffering severe brain damage in the crush.

Read more: UEFA 'sincerely apologises' to fans over violence at Champions League final

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

In the days and weeks after the disaster South Yorkshire Police blamed football hooliganism and drunkenness by Liverpool fans.

But in 2016, after a 27-year campaign by bereaved families, an inquest jury determined the victims were unlawfully killed due to gross negligence manslaughter by the South Yorkshire Police officer in command Ch Supt David Duckenfield.

A total of 97 people died in the Hillsborough disaster
A total of 97 people died in the Hillsborough disaster. Picture: Alamy

The families of victims have hit back at the association between Hillsborough and the violence in Paris in Mr Cadot's report.

Louise Brookes, whose brother Andrew, 26, was one of the 97 people killed, told the Guardian the report was "a total, outrageous failure to understand the disaster".

"This prejudice - that Liverpool supporters are hooligans, based on a complete misunderstanding of something that happened 33 years ago - nearly caused another disaster in Paris, to a new generation of Liverpool fans," she said.

Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James was killed in the crush, said the report shows "the power of the lies that were told by the police".

She also pointed out that stadiums and policing were "made much safer after the disaster".

Read more: Liverpool heartbreak as team loose Champions League after police pepper spray fans

Read more: French police back Liverpool fans and call for minister to go after Champions League chaos

Steve Rotheram, the Labour mayor of Liverpool city region, said the report showed the crowd management at the event was based on "ignorance and prejudice" and called for a thorough investigation.

The report suggests riot police were deployed in force because of misconceived links between football 'hooliganism' and the Hillsborough disaster
The report suggests riot police were deployed in force because of misconceived links between football 'hooliganism' and the Hillsborough disaster. Picture: Alamy

"This is described as intelligence but it displays a lack of intelligence and confirms our worst fears," he told the Guardian.

"The appalling policing and crowd mismanagement in Paris was based on a falsehood, ignorance and prejudice.

"This again underlines the need for a full, thorough, independent investigation."