Britain calls for investigation after fans were tear-gassed at Champions League final

British politicians have urged French authorities to launch a full investigation into the “deeply concerning” treatment of Liverpool fans at Saturday night’s Champions League final in Paris.

French police used tear gas and pepper spray against British football fans waiting to enter the Stade de France to watch the game.

The French government initially blamed traveling fans for the incident, but witnesses claimed the majority of fans were “impeccably” behaving at the time.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Sport Minister Nigel Huddleston were among those who joined Liverpool in urging UEFA to investigate the incident after the club said the immigration problems delaying kick-off were “hugely disappointing”.

Nadine Dorries called for an investigation into the fan chaos

(PA)

“The footage and reports from Liverpool fans and the media of their move into the Stade de France last night are deeply concerning,” said Ms Dorries.

“Thousands of ticket holders have traveled to Paris in time to support their team in the biggest game of their season.”

“It is in everyone’s interest to understand what happened and learn lessons from these events,” added the culture minister.

Mr Huddleston tweeted: “It has yet to be explained why access to the Stade de France was so restricted, resulting in some LFC fans, including young and old, being tear-gassed and unable to reach their seats.

“A full and urgent investigation must be launched by UEFA and the French authorities.”

Later on Sunday, French Sport Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said her department would hold a meeting on Monday to ensure lessons are learned.

Ian Byrne, the Labor MP for Liverpool West Derby, attended the match in Paris and said he had not witnessed such scenes since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

As with that tragedy, he said he was concerned about the “false narrative” he saw beginning to build.

French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin tweeted Saturday night blaming ticketless British fans for the delays, which resulted in thousands of fans being stuck outside the fence at the Stade de France for hours and then being attacked with tear gas.

Liverpool said immigration problems at the Stade de France and the collapse of the security perimeter were “hugely disappointing”.

Tear gas was used against fans waiting by the fence, although Merseyside Police observers said the majority of fans there behaved “exemplarily” and it was reportedly used again in the Cours de Vincennes fan zone immediately after the final whistle.

UEFA said the delays were caused by “thousands of fans” trying to gain entry with fake tickets that didn’t work in the turnstiles. The Paris Police Prefecture said these supporters “used strong force” to gain entry and delayed entry for those with real tickets.

Police said others were trying to capitalize on this and breached the fences.

“The rapid intervention of the security forces has allowed calm to return and helped remove the disturbers from the area surrounding the Stade de France,” the armed forces said in a statement.

Kelly Simmons, the women’s professional game director at the Football Association, was caught up in the mess.

“Crushed on the way in, unable to move for 90 minutes. Face pressed against someone in front of him. Absolutely terrifying. Tear gas on the way out as we were near a small skirmish. A night from hell #paris,” she tweeted.

She added in another tweet: “My legs were like jelly and kept sitting up in the game. All I could think was that we have to get out at the end. All of the fans near me in that crowd behaved impeccably and demanded calm/don’t panic. It was just sheer volume and going nowhere as no gates open.”

And that wasn’t the end of trouble for the fans as following the 1-0 defeat, many were reportedly attacked and robbed by local youths on the 10-minute walk back to the train stations.

Former Liverpool defender-turned-television pundit Jim Beglin said people were “running the gauntlet”.

On Sunday afternoon, Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan reiterated the club’s stance on the unsavory events.

He told LFCTV: “Walking into the stadium and the perimeter security collapse was totally unacceptable and quite frankly the treatment of our fans was too. We aim to ensure there is an independent investigation.

“It is absolutely imperative that we understand what happened last night and how we got into this situation where people’s safety has been put at risk. It’s important that we take whatever lessons there are and make sure this never happens again.”

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