Liverpool FC fans were unfairly blamed for the chaos that surrounded last season’s Champions League final in Paris in a bid to divert attention from the failure of the organizers, according to a report by the French Senate.
The Senate has heard from Reds supporters, French police and government officials and UEFA events director Martin Kallen since the 28 May game, which kicked off more than half an hour late.
France’s Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin initially blamed the delays on ticketless Liverpool fans because crowds had gathered on the outskirts of the Stade de France, with police also using tear gas on fans while they waited to win entry.
The preliminary scores report released on Wednesday said: “It is unfair to want to blame Liverpool team supporters for the unrest that has occurred, as the Home Secretary did to divert attention from the inability of the State to adequately accommodate the crowds in attendance to manage and contain the actions of several hundred violent and coordinated criminals.”
The report noted that the chaos had been caused by a “chain of events and malfunctions” in the days and hours leading up to kick-off.
The report added: “The systems put in place had major deficiencies in terms of intelligence (no hooligans but presence of criminals in large numbers), fan transport routes (distance of a delivery route around the stadium) and inadequate communications.
“There were problems not only with the execution. The crisis scenarios were insufficiently processed in advance and did not show the necessary flexibility in view of so many unexpected events.”
The Senate report says French authorities must learn the lessons of the “serious collective failure” and apply them to hosting next year’s Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympics.
The report described UEFA’s management of the ticketing system as “inadequate” and criticized the lack of training for the stewards, who quickly became overwhelmed.
The Senate found that UEFA had failed to set up a system to detect the extent of counterfeiting in advance.
According to the report, the French Football Federation (FFF) has identified 2,471 counterfeit tickets, 1,644 of them in the southern sector of the stadium dedicated to Liverpool fans.
It also said the decision to conduct an initial check of ticket validity at security points prior to verification has resulted in checkpoints being blocked.
The Senate recommended the introduction of tamper-proof ticketing for such major events and improved coordination between security officers and the police.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/liverpool-champions-league-final-france-senate-darmanin-b2122153.html French Senate report finds Liverpool fans wrongly blamed for Champions League final chaos