France’s sport minister has reiterated the French government’s view that ticketless Liverpool fans were responsible for initial crowd control problems at the Champions League final, with problems later compounded by local youth trying to get in the way to get into the game.
Some French far-right politicians, like Eric Zemmour, said the problems with crowds at Saturday’s match between Liverpool and Real Madrid were mainly caused by local youth from the nearby Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis.
“What we really have to bear in mind is that what happened first of all was this mass gathering of British fans of the Liverpool club, without tickets or with fake tickets,” said French Sport Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera.
“If so many people are standing at the entrance of the stadium, there will be people trying to get in through the doors of the Stade de France and a certain number of young people from the surrounding area who were present tried to get in by hiding under the crowd mixes,” she told French radio station RTL.
On Monday, the French Ministry of Sport meets with the police, representatives of Uefa and the French Football Federation, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and local and regional authorities to discuss the chaotic scenes at the Stade de France.
The game started 35 minutes late after police tried to stop people trying to enter the French national stadium without tickets, while some ticket holders complained that they were not allowed in.
Television footage showed images of young men, apparently not wearing the red Liverpool shirts, jumping over the stadium gates and running away. Other people outside, including children, were fired with tear gas by riot police.
Uefa immediately blamed the chaos on “the fans’ late arrival”, despite the traffic jam starting more than two hours before the scheduled kick-off time. Merseyside matchday police officers, who had traveled with the Liverpool fans, dismissed this view.
The chaotic scenes at France’s national stadium have been branded a national embarrassment as France is set to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympics in 2024.
Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan said the treatment of Liverpool fans was “unacceptable” and the club wanted a “transparent investigation” by Uefa’s governing body.
Britain’s Sports Minister Nadine Dorries also asked Uefa to launch an investigation.
French Minister Oudea-Castera said there were “no problems” regarding Real Madrid fans at Saturday’s game and said Real Madrid managed to control their traveling fans better than Liverpool.