KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The French Sports Minister has blamed ticketless fans of Liverpool, local hooligans and stadium organisational inadequacies for prompting the problems which marred Saturday’s Champions League Final at the Stade de France in in Saint-Denis.
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra was speaking ahead of a meeting with local security commanders and French and European football federation officals.
She said: “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 counterfeit tickets.
“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. Certain number of youths from the nearby area who were present also tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd.
“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,” she said, adding that “certain number of youths from the nearby area who were present tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd”.
French prime ministerial canddate Jean-Luc Mélenchon said the chaos projected “a lamentable picture of France”, adding that it represented in particular the “complete failure” of what he described as repressive French policing tactics.
France is due to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games. Oudéa-Castéra said she was “not worried, but very eager to learn all the necessary lessons.”
She also said the problems had been exacerbated by a shortage of stewards at the gates and excessively narrow ticket control points outside the venue precinct. She also criticised UEFA fo refusing to insist on virtual tickets, eliminating the need for paper tickets.
Oudéa-Castéra has summoned officials from the sports ministry, the police, and local and regional government, as well as representatives from UEFA, the FFF and stadium management, for a meeting with her and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.
The final kicked off 36 minutes late after police and stewards turned away people attempting to enter the stadium after concluding they did not have valid tickets. 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 strip, climbing over the stadium fences and jumping inside. Other fans outside, including families with children, were teargassed by riot police.
Initially UEFA blamed “the late arrival of fans” for the chaos, even though reporters at the scene said the congestion began more than two hours before the scheduled kick‑off time. Merseyside match-day police officers who travelled with the Liverpool fans rejected this view.
Liverpool’s chief executive, Billy Hogan, said the treatment of Liverpool fans was “unacceptable” and British sports minister Nadine Dorries also urged UEFA to launch an investigation.