UEFA and French police blame Liverpool fans for the delay in the Champions League final kick-off. However, British police claim that Reds supporters were “exemplary”.
Liverpool FC called for an investigation after its supporters were subject to violence in Paris with tear gas used repeatedly.
The crowd was so large that security at the Stade de France seemed overwhelmed. Many supporters waited outside for hours and were not allowed inside until half-time.
Gerald Darmanin, French Interior Minister, said that the UK’s traveller were to blame.
He tweeted after visiting the security HQ at stadium. “Thousands of British “fans” forced their way into the stadium without tickets or with fake ticket and sometimes violated the stewards.”
He said, “Thank you to all the police forces mobilized tonight in this difficult setting.”
UEFA, European football’s governing body, said that British fans were also to blame.
Paris police claimed that some Parisian fans arrived without tickets, which had delayed the access of spectators with tickets.
Merseyside police stated that the “behaviour” of the fans at the turnstiles in shock circumstances was “exemplary”.
Liverpool FC claimed that UEFA’s version was “totally incorrect”.
French officers with batons, riot shields, ran from gate-to-gate trying to stop fans forcing their way in, but Liverpool supporters claimed that the tensions were caused by young Parisians who taunted the police and closed the gates.
Carl Noades (63), a fan said that there only seemed to be one gate open. It’s absurd – the game has ended and we are stuck outside.
It’s a shame. It’s shocking how they treat us. They aren’t an organization.”
Another fan stated, “This will be pin on us but it’s not to do with us.”
“There are hundreds of them causing trouble. They’re not even for this game. It’s chaos.”
Liverpool FC released a statement saying that they were deeply disappointed by the stadium entry problems and the breach of security perimeter faced by Liverpool fans at Stade de France.
“This match is the best in European football, and fans should not have to witness the scenes we saw tonight.
“We have requested an official investigation into these unacceptable issues.”
UEFA blamed fans for blocking the turnstiles at Liverpool End.
“This caused a massive crowd trying to get in. The kickoff was delayed for 35 minutes in order to give access to as many fans with real tickets as possible.
“As the crowd grew after kick-off, the police used tear gas to disperse them and drove them out of the stadium.
“UEFA is understanding of the people affected by these events. We will continue to review these matters together with the French Police and Authorities and the French Football Federation.”
Prefecture de Police in Paris, the police force responsible for the arrests, said that fans arriving without tickets were also to blame.
“A number of people took advantage of this opportunity to cross the stadium enclosure’s gates.
“The police’s quick intervention allowed for the restoration of calm and evacuation of the disturbances outside the Stade de France forecourt.
“The spectators are dispersed without any difficulty. There was no major incident in either of the fan zones.
A spokesperson for Merseyside police stated on Twitter that “MERPOL was deployed at this evening’s game.”
“It was the worst European match that I have ever seen or worked with.”
“I found the behavior of the fans at turnstiles to be exemplary, even in the most difficult circumstances.
“You weren’t late 100%.”
Sky’s James Matthews, a Sky correspondent, was present at the game. He said that it was Liverpool’s biggest evening of the season, but it was also a disaster on the pitch.
Although the kickoff was delayed, many Liverpool fans waited in line to get in, even though it was near half-time.
“Many of them showed their tickets to us and explained how they waited for over two hours to get in. After a long, expensive journey to get there, they finally got in.
“Big football events attract large numbers ticketless opportunists, and there was clearly an effort by the police to weed them all out.
It meant large numbers of supporters were caught in a robust police operation. Officers in riot gear led chases around stadium concourse, using tear gas and irritant spray.
“Liverpool fans got caught up in the chaos, and had to endure it – the choice was between running or losing a place in line.
“All this was on European club football’s biggest occasion – which was for too many the showpiece that showed football its worst.”