French Interior Minister partially apologizes for CL chaos
The French Interior Minister apologizes to those who suffered from "bad management" that was witnessed at the 2022 Champions League final in Paris.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Tuesday made a partial apology for chaos at last month's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris while insisting fake tickets and "delinquency" were mostly to blame.
"Should things have been managed better at the Stade de France (stadium)? The answer is yes. Am I partly responsible? The answer is yes," Darmanin told RTL radio.
"Of course, I readily apologize to everyone who suffered from this bad management of the event," he added.
Count of fake tickets far short of tens of thousands claimed by French authorities
After scenes of fans crowded into tight spaces and being tear-gassed by police caused outrage around Europe, Darmanin blamed supporters with fake tickets for the disruption.
UEFA Events Director Martin Kallen last week told French senators investigating the incident that the football body's count of fake tickets was far short of the tens of thousands claimed by French authorities.
"We don't believe it's the number mentioned in France," he affirmed, adding that 2,600 fake tickets were identified at turnstiles - compared with the number of 30,000 to 40,000 people with fake tickets and without tickets suggested by Darmanin.
"It was a question of fake tickets... that created the difficulties we all know about" of large crowds of fans packed into underpasses or outside locked gates, Darmanin insisted Tuesday.
French officers sprayed tear gas at people in wheelchairs
While some supporters did report being victims of crime by gangs of youths before and after the match, there were also many complaints about police treatment of fans.
Disabled Liverpool fans last week told the Senate how officers sprayed tear gas at people in wheelchairs.
The English supporters have reacted with particular fury to Darmanin's defense of the French police's actions.
"People's memories will forever be tarred by the lack of organization and heavy-handed policing, and then, of course, the way authorities tried to deflect blame and scapegoat Liverpool fans for their incompetence," Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotheram told AFP earlier this month.
CCTV footage from around the stadium has also been deleted despite the Senate probe.
A government report published earlier this month said a "chain of failures" by French authorities has inflicted "severe damage" on the image of the country as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2024.