Liverpool say French minister remarks about fans "disgraceful"
Liverpool criticizes the French Interior Minister's remarks blaming the English club's fans for the chaos witnessed at the Champions League final in Paris.
Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan has reacted with "disbelief" at French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin's insistence that the chaotic scenes at Saturday's Champions League final in Paris were caused by supporters of the English club.
Thousands of fans were unable to access the match despite having genuine tickets, in scenes of mayhem that saw the French police use tear gas at close range even against children.
Police spraying tear gas at fans outside the stadium prior to the Champions League final. pic.twitter.com/Wzq8Gj1OIE— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 28, 2022
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen called on Darmanin to resign while left-wing daily Liberation depicted him as the serial liar Pinocchio on its front page.
On his part, French socialist opposition leader Jean-Luc Melenchon condemned police behavior at the final, saying it reflected poorly on the country.
Darmanin initially claimed an "industrial scale" fraud of 30,000 to 40,000 fake tickets was the cause of problems that saw thousands of fans funneled into overcrowded corridors.
Similarly, French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera had told RTL radio that Liverpool, in contrast to Real Madrid, had failed to properly organize the supporters who came to Paris.
2,800 fake tickets were scanned
UEFA and the French football federation estimate that 2,800 fake tickets were scanned at the Stade de France.
"My response to the French minister’s comments again, as I said earlier in the week, is just one of disbelief frankly," Hogan told the Liverpool website.
"The pain, the grief, the harm, the hurt that they suffered on Saturday, and now to be told by a French minister that only Liverpool fans have been a problem, it’s just disgraceful," he expressed.
I mean seriously… what is this?— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) May 29, 2022
Fans literally just walking through a gate to scan their tickets and this happens? It makes no sense… pic.twitter.com/WDmgisLMST
Extra support for mental health charities
Hogan confirmed over 6,500 replies have now been received by the club to an appeal for witness testimony of their treatment.
Liverpool will also fund extra support for mental health charities through the club's foundation to help those distressed by their experience in the French capital.
Fans have compared the dangerous scenes outside the stadium to the Hillsborough disaster in which 97 Liverpool fans were killed in a crush in 1989.
The UEFA has ordered an independent review into the chaos that took place at the Champions League final in Paris.
Violente charge policière dans un bar à proximité de la fan zone de Liverpool à Nation, la situation dégénère. Les personnes en terrasse reçoivent des coups de matraques. #Liverpool #LIVRMA #LiverpoolVsRealMadrid pic.twitter.com/Wl0Vu2kMTd— Remy Buisine (@RemyBuisine) May 28, 2022
Real Madrid fans faced issues too
"I really empathize with our fans. Nobody should go through what they have gone through on Saturday," Hogan said.
The Liverpool chief executive also dismissed suggestions there had been no organizational problems for Real Madrid fans entering and leaving the stadium.
"I spoke to my counterpart at Real Madrid yesterday, who made it clear that their fans also had issues," Hogan mentioned. "They had major concerns with the matchday operation, including the policing operation around the match," he noted.