Following the chaos in the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, the French sports ministry convened a meeting of security and football officials on Monday to ensure that the scene does not recur while preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Speaking before the meeting, Sports Minister Amelie Oudia-Castera reasserted Liverpool’s responsibility for Saturday’s attack, but also acknowledged that lessons must be learned.
The French government has faced criticism from the UK press and politicians for manipulating the match, with thousands of Liverpool fans fighting to get tickets.
Leading French daily Le Monde on Monday echoed the British allegations, saying French authorities were “in denial” of their shortcomings which turned Saturday’s incident into a “fiasco”.
The scenes have tarnished the image of the French capital, the 2024 Sporting Shops, as well as the ability to host major sporting events as it prepares for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Monday’s meeting at the sports ministry was attended by European football’s governing body UEFA, the French football chief and the French police. The sports minister was accompanied by Interior Minister Gerald Dermanin and Paris Police Chief Didier Lalament.
Llament called for a formal investigation into the fabrication of the fake tickets, which he said helped create problems.
The chaos inevitably brings back painful memories for Liverpool, a club haunted by the 1989 Hillsboro disaster that killed 97 people in a stadium crash.
Liverpool Labor MP Ian Byrne, who was in Paris, told Sky News that fans had been treated “like animals”.
“It was horrible – there are no other words to describe it. It was horrible and as one who lived in Hillsborough in 1989, it brought back so many horrible memories,” he said.
Liverpool Mayor Joan Anderson, who was at the scene, told the BBC it was “absolutely symbolic but the police’s behavior was also really brutal.”
Police fired tear gas after dozens of people tried to cross the road, according to AFP reporters at the scene. Security personnel had to round up about 20 fans who scaled the fence and entered the ground.
The match was delayed by 36 minutes, almost unprecedented for an event of this magnitude and a huge embarrassment for the authorities.
Oudea-Castera told RTL Radio that Liverpool, unlike Real Madrid, had failed to properly organize supporters in Paris.
“Liverpool have left their supporters, that’s a big difference,” he said.
The minister added that 30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans outside the Stade de France stadium north of the capital were with or without fake tickets.
“We need to see where these counterfeit tickets came from … and how they were produced in such large numbers,” he said.
“The saddest part of what happened was that tear gas was used against families and children who came to see the final,” he said.
He emphasized, however, that France was capable of hosting major sporting events.
“I’m not worried, I’m very committed that we will learn absolutely everything to improve everything from what happened on Saturday evening,” he said.
Paris was rewarded in the final after being knocked out of the St. Petersburg event due to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Liverpool have said they are “extremely disappointed” that their supporters have suffered “unacceptable” breaches of the security cordon and have called for a formal inquiry.
“Delayed matches, violence, infiltration, tear gas… Saturday evening became a fragile one. A failure that – contrary to all evidence – the French authorities blame only the British supporters, “wrote Le Monde.
The French Interior Ministry said 105 people had been detained, 39 of whom had been arrested and held in custody, meaning they could face charges.
In another instance of a football problem in France, angry Saint-Etienne supporters attacked the pitch using tear gas after French clubs were knocked out of their play-off against Auxerre in League 1 on Sunday.
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