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Champions League final: Liverpool fans unfairly blamed for Paris fiasco to "divert attention", says French Senate

Serious troubles marred the May 28 Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France; because of entry concerns, there were perilous crushes, and police pepper-sprayed or used tear gas on many spectators.

According to a damning French Senate study, Liverpool supporters were unfairly held responsible for the Champions League final debacle in order to “divert attention” from administrative errors.

46 days after the highlight event at the Stade de France, which was marred by crowd issues both before and after the game, the senate, the upper house of the French parliament, revealed its first conclusions on Wednesday.

Before the French government responded initially by denouncing the Reds fans and accusing them of entering with false tickets, Liverpool fans were doused with tear gas, and the game was delayed by more than 30 minutes to deal with crowding in the stadium area.

“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 state’s inability to adequately manage the crowds present and to curb the action of several hundred violent and co-ordinated offenders,” the Senate report found that rhetoric masked failures by the French authorities around the organization of the match.

According to the report, a “series of incidents and malfunctions” in the days and hours preceding kickoff was to blame for the mayhem.

“Problems did not just arise during execution. The crisis scenarios developed earlier lacked the requisite flexibility in the face of so many unpredictable events since they were not sufficiently developed.”

According to the report’s co-chairman Laurent Lafon, all of the senators involved in the investigation agreed with its conclusions, which he claimed were brought on by a “chain of administrative errors” that allowed everyone involved in the Champions League final’s planning to feel vindicated in their respective roles.

Because of how serious the incident was at the Stade de France, he said, “several decisions need to be made to make sure that this doesn’t happen again during the Rugby World Cup or the Olympic Games.”

“It is irresponsible to attempt to shift the focus away from the state’s inadequate crowd control by blaming Liverpool fans for the disruptions, as the interior minister [Gérald Darmanin] has done.

“The French Football Federation, the train operators, and the police chief needed to communicate properly about getting the fans from the railway station, but this didn’t happen.

“In order to encourage people to arrive early, we advise enhancing communication with football fans and the Stade de France’s surrounding region.

“We strongly advise the authorities to adjust their perception of football fans,” the group said.

Liverpool CEO HOGAN: French government should apologize to fans

In response to the study, Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan praised the conclusions and urged the French authorities to express regret for what transpired that evening.

He told the official Liverpool website: “It’s clear that what the Senate put forward was that the problems at Stade de France were founded on a variety of faults via the organization of the event itself and in no way was it to be blamed or created by the supporters.

“Actually, a lot of charges that blamed the audience for what transpired that night were made public shortly after the event.
I believe the Senate is demonstrating unequivocally that this is not the case.
We would welcome and endorse the 15 suggestions that came out of the study because it is evident that they went through a process over the course of the last few weeks and met with a variety of people and stakeholders.

“We would absolutely welcome the Senate’s request that the French government investigates and support their findings. We agree with the previous statements that no fan, whether they are a football fan or not — whether they are attending a concert, a football game, etc. — should experience what Liverpool and Real Madrid fans did that evening at the Stade de France.

“In addition, I would hope—and I would certainly anticipate—that this study would contribute to the independent UEFA investigation.

“Finally, I would say that seeing one of the senators express a specific apology to the Liverpool and Real Madrid fans for what occurred that evening was really encouraging. I would also request that the French government follow suit. Not just to the supporters of Liverpool and Real Madrid, but also to both teams, who have had reputational problems since the championship game, and we hope they would extend an apology where it is due.”

What happened at the Champions League final?

The Stade de France’s major issues cast a shadow over the championship game between Liverpool and Real Madrid in May.

Due to access problems, dangerous crushes developed, and the police pepper-sprayed or used tear gas on numerous spectators.

Several of Jurgen Klopp’s kin were directly affected by the issue, but they did not inform the German until later.

They also questioned why administrators did not order the deletion of the CCTV footage from the incident, in which police pepper-sprayed spectators and their families.

Ted Morris, the chair of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association, also provided the French Senate with an account of what transpired on the day of the Champions League final.

‘This is not just about Liverpool fans, it’s about all football supporters’

He continued, “You hope to hear of more responsibility. To be honest, the remarks we’ve been receiving from UEFA are disgraceful; it appears that they are denying any culpability.

“The fans have been held accountable in the same manner that French governments have. In addition to wanting accountability, I also want football fans to not have to endure what we did.

“It’s about all football supporters feeling like they can go and celebrate the game, not just Liverpool fans,” the statement goes. That’s how it was in Kiev, and Madrid, and should have been in Paris. 

“You want UEFA to provide assurances that going forward they’ll ensure everything runs much more smoothly and that fans who have paid a lot of money to attend are treated much better and are safer.

It was a Champions League final, so we couldn’t really care about the outcome after everything we had gone through.

What do you think?

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Written by tara

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