France’s sports minister said on Monday that Liverpool fans without valid tickets were responsible for initial crowd control problems at the Champions League final, with problems exacerbated later by local youths trying to force their way into the game.
Some French far-right politicians, such as Eric Zemmour, said the crowd trouble at Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid was caused principally by local youths from the nearby Saint-Denis Paris suburb.
“What we really have to bear in mind is that what happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets,” French sports minister Amelie 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 of the Stade de France, and a certain number of youths from the nearby area who were present tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd,” she told French radio RTL.
The match kicked off with a 35-minute delay after police tried to hold back people attempting to force their way into the stadium without tickets, while some ticket holders complained they were not let in.
Television footage showed images of young men, who did not appear to be wearing the red Liverpool jerseys, jumping the gates of the stadium and running away. Other people outside, including children, were tear-gassed by riot police.
The chaotic scenes at the French national stadium were branded a national embarrassment, with France due to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games.
Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan said the treatment of Liverpool fans was “unacceptable” and the club wanted a “transparent investigation” by governing body Uefa.
Britain’s minister for sport, Nadine Dorries, also urged Uefa to launch an investigation, while Labour MP Ian Byrne said the governing body must learn lessons to avoid a repeat of “the absolute debacle”.
French minister Oudea-Castera said there were “no problems” regarding Real Madrid supporters at Saturday’s match and said the Spanish club, who won a record-extending 14th European Cup with a 1-0 win, managed to control its travelling supporters better than Liverpool.
Byrne, the MP for Liverpool West Derby, told Sky News: “I think we’ve got to make sure that the scenes that we experienced on Saturday are never ever replicated again at any sporting occasion.
“The Stade de France holds many different sporting finals – it’s got the Rugby World Cup, the Olympics (2024).
“We need to make sure that lessons are learned from what happened.”
He added: “From my perspective, the football authorities in this country and the Government need to come together and say enough is enough and we will not accept that moving forward.
“Uefa have got to learn lessons about the absolute debacle on Saturday but also around the ticket allocation – there’s lots and lots to learn, so we need a full investigation.”