Liverpool fans unfairly blamed for Champions League final chaos, says French Senate

13 July 2022, 16:39

Liverpool fans were blamed for the chaos at the final
Liverpool fans were blamed for the chaos at the final. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Liverpool fans were unfairly blamed for chaos at the Champions League final in Paris to "divert attention" from the failure of organisers, the French Senate has found in a report.

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The Senate heard from football fans, French police, government officials and UEFA's events director, Martin Kallen, following the match on May 28.

Chaos erupted around the stadium in Paris as fans spent hours waiting to get in, forcing kick-off in the clash between Liverpool and eventual champions Real Madrid to be pushed back.

Children and disabled fans were among those who were pepper sprayed and had CS gas fired at them as scenes escalated prior to the match.

France's interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, initially blamed Liverpool supporters for the build-up of crowds at the Stade de France.

However, the provisional report of its findings, published on Wednesday, stated: "It is unfair to have wanted to make supporters of the Liverpool team bear the responsibility for the disturbances that occurred, as the Minister of the Interior did to divert attention from the inability of the state to adequately manage the crowds present and to curb the action of several hundred violent and co-ordinated offenders."

The report found that chaos had been caused by a "chain of events and malfunctions" in the days and hours leading up to kick-off.

Read more: Liverpool fan needs knee rebuilt after 'hammer attack' at Champions League Final

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

Champions League Final chaos

The report said: "The systems put in place had major shortcomings with regard to the intelligence (absence of hooligans but presence of delinquents in large numbers), the transport routes for supporters (removal of a drop-off route at the surroundings of the stadium) and insufficient communication.

"It is not only in the execution that problems arose. Upstream, the crisis scenarios were insufficiently worked on and did not demonstrate the necessary flexibility in the face of so many unanticipated events."

It added that the French authorities must learn the lessons from the "serious collective failure" which had occurred and apply them to future events, including next year's Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games.

The report also described UEFA's management of the ticketing system as "unsuitable" and criticised a lack of training for stewards, who it said were quickly overwhelmed.

UEFA failed to put in place a system in advance to detect the extent of ticket forgeries, the Senate found.

At the time, the French football federation (FFF) identified 2,471 counterfeit tickets - 1,644 of them in the southern sector of the stadium which was dedicated to Liverpool fans.

The report said the decision to run a first check on ticket validity at pre-screening security points had led to checkpoints becoming blocked.

It was recommended that tamper-proof ticketing be introduced moving forward as well as improved co-ordination between stewards and police.