Europe

String of French errors led to Champions League chaos, inquiry finds

An official report into chaotic scenes at the Uefa Champions League final in Paris in May has exposed a “series of dysfunctions” by French authorities. 

Liverpool fans who flocked to the stadium, but who could not get in to see their team play, were tear-gassed by French police. A number of Liverpool supporters were also robbed or beaten, but video surveillance footage of the attacks was deleted. 

Laurent Lafon, one of the inquiry’s chairpersons, outlined a series of failings ahead of the match, saying that authorities acted on their own plans without much coordination – and that there had been “failures” both “in the execution” and in the “preparation” of the event. 

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin initially blamed Liverpool fans with fake tickets for the chaotic scenes, saying 35,000 supporters had turned up at the Stade de France with counterfeit or unmarked tickets. However senators on the Culture Committee criticised his attitude, saying it “did not allow our committee to fully understand what happened.” 

“It’s not because there were Liverpool supporters who accompanied their team that it went badly,” said Laurent Lafon.

The official report by lawmakers into the chaotic scenes made 15 recommendations to avoid similar problems in future, including requiring event organisers to retain video surveillance images for one month afterwards; and making it compulsory to use forgery-proof tickets.

Senators said even if there were duplicate tickets being used by the tens of thousands of supporters who showed up, “this failure is due to the decisions taken by the Paris police prefecture.” 

Darmanin has apologised for the “disproportionate” use of tear gas but continued to blame Liverpool fans. 

France is hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games.

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