Chaotic scenes at the French national stadium before and during Saturday night’s Champions League final were branded a national embarrassment, while French ministers blamed Liverpool fans for the trouble.
The final between Liverpool and Real Madrid began with a delay of 35 minutes after police tried to stop people trying to make their way to the Stade de France without tickets, while some ticket holders complained that they were allowed inside. Wasn’t allowed to go.
Television footage showed pictures of young men, who were not visible, wearing red Liverpool jerseys, jumping from the stadium gates and running. A Reuters eyewitness said riot police fired tear gas at people outside, including children.
Some riot police officers broke into the stadium, while others accused people trying to knock on the stadium gates.
European football’s governing body UEFA blamed counterfeit tickets for causing the issue and said it would review incidents in conjunction with French authorities and the French football federation, in a statement welcomed by the British ambassador in Paris, Mena Rawlings. .
“We need to set the facts,” Rawlings tweeted, adding his “pledge” to Liverpool after Real’s “brave performance” in their 1-0 loss.
The French interior and sport ministers blamed the “British” supporters entirely.
French Interior Minister Gerald Dormanin thanked French police on Twitter, saying: “Thousands of British supporters forcibly entered without tickets or with fake ones and repeatedly used violence on stadium staff again.”
Sports Minister Amelie Oudia-Castera tweeted: “Infiltration and fraud attempts by thousands of English supporters complicate the work of stadium staff and police, but will not tarnish this victory.”
Paris police said in a statement that 68 people were arrested at 1.20 local time on Sunday, while 238 people were treated for those with minor injuries.
UEFA issued a statement late Saturday saying: “In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at Liverpool’s end were blocked by thousands of fans who bought fake tickets that did not work in the turnstiles.”
Liverpool Football Club also issued a statement saying, “We are deeply disappointed by the stadium entry issues and the breakdown of security perimeters that Liverpool fans have faced.
“We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”
The stadium scenes caused outrage in France, with politicians from all sides calling it a national disgrace.
“It’s a shame for France!”, Nicolas Dupont-Aignon, a staunch former presidential candidate, said on Twitter.
Even some in French President Emmanuel Macron’s camp mourned the events that took place two years before Paris hosted the Olympic Games.
European MP Nathalie Loiso in Macron’s party said on Twitter: “Scramble at the Stade de France, brawls in bars, green spaces turned to trash… An overview: We are not ready for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”