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

1 June 2022, 10:14 | Updated: 1 June 2022, 11:05

By Will Taylor

A "cover up" appeared to be in the works at the Champions League final before a ball was even kicked, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has told LBC.

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The former England defender said he could tell something bad was happening when messages in Paris's Stade de France said fans were still trying to get into the stadium.

Pepper spray and CS gas was used against Liverpool fans, who said they had done nothing wrong – and in some cases had been seeking refuge with police to escape “local youths”.

France's interior minister has blamed people holding tens of thousands of fake tickets for the disorder but Reds fans have claimed that is an excuse for horrendous policing.

They have reportedly been backed by officials in the interior ministry and Gendarmerie, a national police force.

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

Carragher told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: "Straightaway on the message board inside the stadium it said fans have turned up late, that's why the game being pulled back and I knew straight away, something wasn't right.

Carragher said he could tell a "cover up" was in the works
Carragher said he could tell a "cover up" was in the works. Picture: Alamy

"When you put out something that quickly by [European football governing body] UEFA and then they retracted that and said it was something else. You know it was the start of a cover up."

More than 170 people were injured and more than 60 were arrested as police officers with batons and riot shields were deployed at the stadium on Saturday.

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

An inquiry has been launched by UEFA into what happened.

Gerald Darmanin, the French interior ministry, had said in the aftermath: "There was massive fraud at an industrial level and organisation of fake tickets, 70% of tickets were fake tickets coming into the Stade de France."

Sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera claimed there were "30,000-40,000 people" without tickets, or using counterfeit ones.

French police have been criticised for the way they treated Liverpool fans in Paris
French police have been criticised for the way they treated Liverpool fans in Paris. Picture: Alamy

Liverpool fans accused them of trying to make excuses for heavy-handed policing of fans.

And they appeared to be backed by people working within the French policing and political machine.

One French Interior Ministry source said to Mediapart: "This complaint is an announcement aimed at trying to cover up.

"Accusing English supporters is just nonsense."

Carragher said mistreatment of supporters is not unique to Liverpool.

He told Nick: "People very rarely ever want to accept responsibility or actually hold their hands up and say 'we made a mistake' and this is something I mentioned on the air before the game, that to this all goes back to actually Hillsborough, these types of a situations where football supporters are, sort of tarnished.

"I just think in this day and age, it's a lot more difficult to do this now. I think with social media, I think everyone's got a phone, people are videoing things.

"So it's almost completely different from what happened obviously on that sad day in Sheffield now, where we find ourselves with so many people out there videing situations and they've almost got the hard evidence to prove that these were false."

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