French government source says smearing Liverpool fans is a 'cover-up'

‘Accusing English supporters is NONSENSE’: French government source admits smearing Liverpool fans for ‘causing Champions League chaos’ is a ‘cover-up’

  • French authorities face a barrage of criticism over Champions League final 
  • Ministers blamed Liverpool fans to ‘cover up’ the true causes, a source claims 
  • The government official added: ‘Accusing English supporters is just nonsense’ 

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin defiantly insisted that ticket scams and the behaviour of Liverpool fans was to blame for the chaos 

French ministers blamed Liverpool fans for the Champions League final chaos in Paris to ‘cover up’ the true causes, a Government source claims. 

Authorities defended police for indiscriminately firing tear gas and pepper spray at English supporters and claimed ‘massive’ ticket fraud was responsible for the chaotic scenes which marred Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris.

The French football federation (FFF) released a statement on Tuesday alleging that 35,000 people without tickets or with false tickets had descended on the Stade de France for the final.

The country’s government has faced a barrage of criticism over policing of the match, which saw thousands of Liverpool fans with tickets struggle to enter the Stade de France.

After a crisis meeting at the sports ministry on Monday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin defiantly insisted that ticket scams and the behaviour of Liverpool fans was to blame. 

But a source at the Interior Ministry has now told the Paris investigative news outlet Mediapart that the fake ticket complaint was ‘an announcement aimed at trying to cover up.’ 

The official added: ‘Accusing English supporters is just nonsense. Paris police headquarters should have recognised their mistakes.’

But instead the Paris Police Prefect, Didier Lallement, fabricated a figure of ’70 per cent of Liverpool fans’ arriving at the ground with fake tickets, the source claimed.

‘The communication was initiated by the Prefecture, the Minister followed. It is a mistake,’ said the source.

UEFA has now started an investigation after pictures of Liverpool fans being tear-gassed by police were published.  

The French police have been widely accused of being heavy-handed with largely peaceful fans (pictured: A fan is held by a police officer and a steward inside the stadium by the turnstiles on May 28)

A real ticket (left) and a fake (right) for the Champions League final are displayed at a press conference in Paris on May 30 following a meeting on security. French authorities defended police for indiscriminately firing tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool supporters at the Champions League final while blaming industrial levels of fraud

Liverpool have reacted with fury after the French government’s latest attempt to blame their supporters for the chaos that erupted at Saturday’s Champions League final (pictured above)

Fans, including young women and children, were sprayed with tear gas by French police (right)

Having deployed 1,650 security and ticketing staff, 25% higher than a sold-out home France match, the FFF said that 110,000 people went to the stadium ‘based on information collected from various public and private operators’.

UEFA to refund fans

UEFA have promised to compensate 2,700 ticket-holders who were deprived of the chance to watch Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris.

The start of the match was delayed by 36 minutes as chaos reigned at the turnstiles with many Liverpool fans prevented from entering the stadium.

Some of those supporters were also pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed by French riot police.

Many were eventually able to access the ground after the match had started but others missed the game entirely.

‘We have asked UEFA, who have agreed with us, that these people be precisely identified and receive immediate compensation,’ said French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera.

The FFF concluded that around the stadium, there were ‘35,000 extra people in possession of counterfeit tickets or without tickets’ and they ’caused public disorder by blocking the gates to the stadium and preventing some holders of real tickets from entering before the kick-off of the match scheduled for 9.00pm’.

A senior gendarmerie officer supported the Interior Ministry official, saying: ‘These declarations mark the double bankruptcy of a ministry which not only does not know how to manage a sporting event of this magnitude but follows the declarations of a dangerous and uncontrolled Prefect.

‘In other countries, it would have been worth the resignation of the Minister and the Prefect. But in France lies are added to policed violence to cover it up without this posing a problem.’

Other senior police officers said specialist riot squads trained to deal with urban disturbances should not have been at the final.

These so-called ‘Brav’ units wear helmets and body armour and are notorious for using tear gas and batons.

‘Putting Brav intervention companies who have no experience in managing supporters for a sporting event of this magnitude is nonsense’, said one of the sources.

He said they ‘created the violence associated with the Yellow Yest’ anti-government movement that brought rioting to the streets of major cities during President Emmanuel Macron’s first administration.

Referring to prestige sports events due to be held in France over the next two years, the police source said: ‘Fifteen months from the Rugby World Cup and twenty-four from the Olympics, this does not bode well.’

There was a delay before the match kicked off to allow fans outside the stadium to go inside

UEFA, the European football body, is launching an independent inquiry into the treatment of Liverpool fans at the weekend.

Critics have accused French ministers of scapegoating Liverpool fans to mask their own failings and the role of local thugs.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘The footage from the Stade de France this weekend was deeply upsetting and concerning. We know many Liverpool fans travelled to Paris in good time…and we’re hugely disappointed.’

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has demanded an apology over the treatment of the club’s fans after 

Werner, part of the US-based Fenway Sports Group that owns Liverpool, said in a leaked letter sent to French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera on Monday that he was left in ‘utter disbelief’ at her comments about the chaos.

Oudea-Castera initially blamed Liverpool for helping to cause the mayhem, telling a French radio station that the club failed to properly organise its supporters who went to Paris.

Source: Read Full Article