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French sport minister accuses Liverpool FC of leaving fans ‘in the wild’ – POLITICO

France’s new Sport Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra on Monday blamed Liverpool Football Club and its supporters for the chaos that marred Saturday night’s Champions League final near Paris.

“The fact that the Real Madrid club oversaw their fans coming to Paris to such an extent, scheduling buses from the airport and organizing everything from start to finish – which is in sharp contrast to what the Liverpool club did when he let his fans out in the wild – made a big difference,” Oudéa-Castéra said in provocative remarks to RTL.

Oudéa-Castéra is due to meet with European football’s governing body UEFA and local authorities later on Monday to discuss the disturbing scenes outside the Stade de France that took place before Real Madrid beat Liverpool in a game delayed by 35 minutes due to blockages from fans outside has been moved . Crowds of mainly Liverpool supporters became stuck at checkpoints around the stadium and French police used batons and tear gas to disperse supporters queuing to get to Europe’s premier sporting event.

But the leaders of the supporters groups are deeply unperturbed by the French government’s response. Football Supporters Europe chief executive Ronan Evain, who was watching the chaos in Saint-Denis, hit back Oudéa-Castera’s attempt to shift the blame.

“There is a problem with how the French authorities organized the game – and now they are redirecting it to Liverpool fans,” he said. “They want to avoid taking responsibility for what happened.”

“There is a cancellation [by the French authorities] to recognize that the Liverpool fans are the victims here,” added Evain. “They gassed the elderly and children with tear gas. You owe them an apology.”

In a report for the French Interior Ministry obtained by POLITICO’s Playbook Paris, Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement blamed the chaos on Parisians on “major failings by organizers in dealing with British fans” and the “late, massive influx of British fans following the strike”. transport company.

He also claimed that 30,000 to 40,000 people entered the stadium either without a ticket or with fake tickets. Organizer UEFA said thousands of fans who bought fake tickets blocked the turnstiles at the Liverpool end, causing a traffic jam.

The use of tear gas was “unfortunately necessary,” Lallement wrote in his report, adding that he “deeply regrets the inconvenience this may have caused to several participants.”

Evain dismissed the French authorities’ claim that fake tickets “do not reflect reality”.

Reports of beatings and tear gas attacks on families and disabled fans have sparked outrage across Liverpool and the UK, with both the club and the government calling for an official inquiry into the incident. “The footage and reports from Liverpool fans and the media of their entry into the Stade de France last night are deeply worrying,” said British Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries on Sunday.

Pauline de Saint Remy and Ali Walker contributed reporting.

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