The French sport minister’s chief of staff quit the job just a week after taking it.
Philippe Mahé joined Sport Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra’s team at the end of May, but reports in French newspaper L’Équipe say that “the transplant didn’t work”. It adds that Mr Mahé will leave “by mutual consent” after a week when French authorities have come under fire for their claims about the chaotic scenes at the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
Ms Oudéa-Castéra has been severely criticized for her reaction to events at the Stade de France in Paris. The sport secretary has blamed “ticketless fans” for the problems at the game, which saw Liverpool fans tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed. She later suggested Liverpool fans posed a “very specific risk” to authorities.
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On May 30, she told radio station RTL: “What happened first was this mass gathering of the Liverpool club’s British fans, with no tickets or with fake tickets. With so many people standing in front of the entrance of the stadium, there will be people trying to enter through the doors of the Stade de France and a certain number of youth from the surrounding area who were present trying to blend in with the crowd.
“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 they let their fans out in the wild – made a huge difference.”
Ms Oudéa-Castéra and French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin were brought before the Senate on June 1 when they doubled down on their claims that ticketless Liverpool fans were responsible for the chaos. Ms Oudéa-Castera said: “The time we had to prepare this final was short.
The French government’s response was harshly criticized and its claims disputed by fans and journalists attending the final. Local and national politicians have called for an inquiry, while Liverpool-born Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said all political parties and the Government should seek an apology.