Liverpool fans unfairly blamed for chaos at Champions League final, says French Senate report

Video report by Chris Hall

Liverpool fans were unfairly blamed for the chaos which surrounded the Champions League final to “divert attention” from failure of the organisers, a French Senate report has found.

It also found the shambolic scenes had been caused by a "chain of events and malfunctions" in the days and hours leading up to kick-off.

Police used tear gas and pepper spray against fans, including young children, with many crushed as they waited to be allowed inside the State de France.

The game against Real Madrid was delayed by more than half an hour as fans were trapped outside the stadium.

The Senate heard testimonies from Reds supporters, along with French police and government officials and UEFA, as it looked into what happened outside the ground.

Its provisional findings stated: "It is unfair to have wanted to make supporters of the Liverpool team bear the responsibility for the disturbances that occurred, as the Minister of the Interior did to divert attention from the inability of the state to adequately manage the crowds present and to curb the action of several hundred violent and co-ordinated offenders."

UEFA initially blamed the late arrival of fans for the problems, which included some supporters being crushed, before later issuing a statement referring to fake tickets as the cause.

French government ministers reiterated the latter claims alleging "fraud at an industrial level" leading to the fiasco that followed.

This version of events was challenged by numerous fans and other independent eye-witnesses, including numerous media outlets.

The report added: “The systems put in place had major shortcomings with regard to the intelligence (absence of hooligans but presence of delinquents in large numbers), the transport routes for supporters (removal of a drop-off route at the surroundings of the stadium) and insufficient communication.

"It is not only in the execution that problems arose.

"Upstream, the crisis scenarios were insufficiently worked on and did not demonstrate the necessary flexibility in the face of so many unanticipated events."

Police use pepper spray against fans outside the ground Credit: Adam Davy/PA

The Senate report said French authorities must learn the lessons from the "serious collective failure" which had occurred and apply them to the hosting of next year’s Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games.

The report also described UEFA’s management of the ticketing system as “unsuitable” and criticised a lack of training for stewards, who it said were quickly overwhelmed.

UEFA had failed to put in place a system in advance to detect the extent of forgeries.

The report said the French federation had identified 2,471 counterfeit tickets, 1,644 in the southern sector of the stadium dedicated to Liverpool supporters.

It also said the decision to run a first check on ticket validity at pre-screening security points had led to checkpoints becoming blocked.

Liverpool supporter Ted Morris said: "We were in the stadium fearful of our supporters outside - whether they were going to lose their life.

"And you've got UEFA putting a narrative on the board this is Liverpool fans arrive late. No they haven't - they were there three hours before kick-off, so why set that narrative?

"And it's caused trauma, on top of what happened at the game, it's took us all back to 1989."

The Senate recommended the introduction of tamper-proof ticketing for such major events, and improved co-ordination between stewards and police.

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