Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and English football culture have been blamed by the French Home Secretary for the Champions League final chaos for Reds fans in Paris.
However, Gerald Darmanin’s claims that 40,000 counterfeit tickets caused the problem have been called “fanciful” as eyewitness accounts continue to argue that faulty turnstiles and police aggression were to blame.
UEFA has launched an investigation after thousands of fans with tickets were held up in huge bottleneck queues and French authorities tear-gassed peaceful fans, including children.
It forced the parade event at the Stade de France, which Real Madrid eventually won 1-0, to be postponed by 36 minutes.
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has revealed tickets he gave to friends and family were not recognized at the turnstiles, while around 2,700 fans with real tickets are believed to be stuck outside.
But French Interior Minister Darmanin has claimed that 70 per cent of Reds supporters’ tickets were fake, highlighting Klopp’s pre-match comments and previous incidents with England fans when explaining the fiasco at a press conference on Monday.
Darmanin said: “These problems only exist in football at certain English clubs.
“The presence of so many British fans without tickets has already happened, especially in Madrid in 2019. And it caused similar kinds of troubles. Wembley had the same problems last year [at the Euro 2020 final].
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“The behavior, the disorganization and a huge market for fake tickets. And I remind you that a few days ago the Liverpool manager asked fans to come to France even without tickets.
“And we found ourselves with tens of thousands of British fans, some of whom fully respected and bought tickets or went to the dedicated fan zone.
“I remind you that there were tens of thousands of fans in the fan zone without any problems. You respected the rules. But there was a smaller but active part that collided with our security system.”
Liverpool have been allocated fewer than 20,000 tickets for the 81,000-seat stadium and Klopp said ahead of the game Paris was “big enough” to accommodate many fans.
“That is the only negative thing about the trip. It’s tremendous what they’re asking for,” he said.
“I really hope that somehow they all make it and – of course they will – create an incredible atmosphere. It’s nice.
“Well, if you don’t get a ticket – I don’t want to invite people to Paris, but this time it’s big enough. I have last time for Basel (2016 Europa League final) and all of Switzerland was like that (face palms) but I think Paris is big enough to go there without a ticket and have a good time. Behave yourself, but be in the best of spirits.
“If you can’t go there, enjoy it here in any environment. What I love about this game is that the world will be red or white. Everyone is either/or and that makes it a real finale.”
Ronan Evain, chairman of Football Supporters Europe, who was at the game, insists claims that 40,000 fake tickets are in circulation are “completely fanciful”.
Meanwhile, Pierre Barthelemy, a lawyer representing France’s Liverpool fans, went a step further, describing Darmanin’s comments as part of a smear campaign against England fans that “does not match what everyone has seen”.
Darmanin’s version of events also lacks widespread coverage of problems faced by Real Madrid fans across the stadium.
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