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France seeks to ‘learn lessons’ from failure in the Champions League

07 Jun 2022 | 08:34 | Football


French Sports Minister

French Sports, Olympic and Paralympic Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera (L) gestures next to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (R) during a press conference after a meeting at the French Ministry of Sports in Paris to identify those responsible. responsible for the unrest during the UEFA Champions League football final, on 30 May 2022. (Photo by Thomas COEX/AFP)

The French sport ministry convened a meeting of security and football officials on Monday following the chaos that plagued the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, seeking to ensure there is no repeat. scene as Paris prepares for the 2024 Olympics.

Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, speaking before the meeting, again placed the blame on Liverpool for Saturday’s mayhem but also acknowledged that lessons must be learned.

The French government has faced a barrage of criticism from the press and politicians in England over the police handling of the match, which saw thousands of Liverpool fans with tickets struggle to get into the pitch. .

French daily Le Monde on Monday echoed British complaints on Monday, saying that French authorities had “denied” their shortcomings that had turned Saturday’s event into a “failure”. lose”.

The scenes have tarnished the French capital’s image, raising questions about its ability to host major sporting events in preparation for the 2024 sporting event, as well as the 2023 Rugby World Cup. .

‘Absolutely evil’

Monday’s meeting at the sport ministry was attended by European football’s governing body UEFA, French football directors and the French police. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Paris police chief Didier Lallement were both present, along with the sports minister.

Lallement has called for a formal investigation into the production of fake tickets, which he says helped cause the problem.

The chaos has certainly brought back painful memories for Liverpool, a club haunted by the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which claimed the lives of 97 people in a dilapidated stadium.

Labor MP for Liverpool region Ian Byrne, who was in Paris, told Sky News fans were being treated “like animals”.

“It was horrible – there are no other words to describe it. It was really horrible and as someone who was in Hillsborough in 1989, it brought back so many horrible memories,” he said.

The mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, who was also at the scene, told the BBC it was “absolutely abhorrent but the police behavior was also truly brutal.”

‘Dont worry’

Police fired tear gas after dozens of people tried to climb over the barricades, according to an AFP reporter at the scene. The security staff had to round up about 20 fans who broke through the fence and got into the ground.

The match was delayed by 36 minutes, which is almost unprecedented in an event of this magnitude and caused a great deal of embarrassment to the authorities.

Oudea-Castera told RTL radio that Liverpool, in contrast to Real Madrid, had not properly organized supporters to go to Paris.

She said: “Liverpool let their supporters loose, which is a big difference.

The minister added that there were 30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans with fake or no tickets outside the Stade de France stadium just north of the capital.

“We need to see where these fake tickets come from… and how they are produced in such large numbers,” she said.

She said the “most regrettable of what happened” was that tear gas was used against families and children who came to watch the final.

But she insists that France has the capacity to host major sporting events.

“I’m not worried, I’m very committed that we will absolutely take all the lessons from what happened Saturday night to make things better,” she said.

Paris was only awarded the right to the final after Saint-Peterburg was stripped of the right to attend the event due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Liverpool said they were “deeply disappointed” that their supporters had been “unacceptably broken” and demanded a formal investigation.

“The game delay, violence, intrusion, tear gas… Saturday night turned out to be a failure. A failure – contrary to all evidence – the French authorities blamed only British supporters,” Le Monde wrote.

France’s interior ministry said 105 people have been detained, of which 39 are under house arrest and remand, meaning they could face charges.

In another example of football trouble in France, angry Saint-Etienne fans invaded the pitch after they were relegated from Ligue 1 on Sunday in a play-off against Auxerre, with French police use tear gas.

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