Gerald Darmanin, the French interior minister, said that he had regrets about the policing of the Champions League final but also attempted to shift the blame on to Liverpool fans without any firm evidence
French authorities have displayed real and fake Champions League final tickets in a press conference after the sports minister Amelie Oudea-Caster doubled down on a baseless claim that the distressing scenes before the match were caused by “30 to 40,000” Liverpool supporters who had turned up at Stade de France without tickets.
Gerald Darmanin, the French interior minister, said that he had regrets about the policing of the event but also attempted to shift the blame on to Liverpool fans and a “massive, industrial-scale and organised fraud with fake tickets”.
There are subtle differences to the tickets displayed by the authorities. The most visible is a slight difference in typeface, while the QR code on the fake leads to a google search of Liverpool FC and the code on the real brief produces a code. That difference would only have been apparent when tickets needed to be scanned at the stadium’s turnstiles.
“What happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets,” Oudea-Castera said. “When there are that many people by the entrance to the stadium, there will be people trying to force their way in through the doors.”
Without any firm evidence Oudea-Castera claimed there were “between 30,000 and 40,000” Liverpool fans without valid tickets in Paris. She added: “The fact that the Real Madrid club has supervised the coming of its supporters to Paris to such an extent, by scheduling buses from the airport and organising everything from start to finish, which contrasted sharply with what the Liverpool club did, letting its supporters out in the wild, made a huge difference.”
A more significant issue according to those on the ground, backed up by video footage shared online, was that a significant number of locals had gathered outside with an aim to cause trouble. Oudea-Castera said that “a certain number of youths from the nearby area were present [and] tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd.”
Ted Morris, head of Liverpool’s Disabled Supporters’ Association, told Mirror Football that “hundreds” of locals were gathered outside after the game to hurl missiles and attempt to pickpocket visitors as they made their way back to central Paris. “Journalists have seen it with their own eyes so UEFA can’t whitewash it,” he said. “They need to make sure to hold the officials and especially French police accountable.”
The British government are calling for a full investigation into the ugly scenes. Prime minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “We’ve obviously seen reports since Saturday of fans who were given authorised tickets from the club and not able to gain entry to the stadium. We’ve seen statements from Uefa which also claim the delay to kick-off was caused by the late arrival of fans. That doesn’t chime with the experience of many of those standing outside the stadium.”