UCL final mayhem: Paris police chief admits possible fake ticket mistake

The Paris police chief said on Thursday he may have been wrong when he said up to 40,000 Liverpool supporters tried to enter the Champions League final with fake tickets and that there was no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Didier Lallement added during a hearing at the French Senate that the police action around the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France was a “failure” both because the fans were harmed and the image of France has been degraded. The final, which Liverpool lost 1-0, was delayed for more than 30 minutes after police forcefully restrained people trying to enter the ground. Riot police sprayed tear gas at fans, including women and children.

France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says much of the blame lies with Liverpool supporters and 30,000 to 40,000 arrived without valid tickets, leading to a crush of crowds at the stadium and people trying to force their way through. He was later supported by President Emmanuel Macron.

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Darmanin’s version of events was disputed by Liverpool fans who attended and said the vast majority of their supporters behaved well but were dealt with brutally by French riot police. “I may have been wrong about the figure of 30,000 to 40,000 thousand (fans with fake tickets) that I gave to the minister (of the interior),” Lallement said.

“From an operational perspective, it doesn’t matter if it was around 40,000 or 30,000 or 20,000,” Lallement said. French senators pushed Lallement to explain the empirical evidence behind the counterfeit figure, which he said came from police reports on the ground. “I was the one who gave that number to the minister, and I stand by it completely,” he added.

During the parliamentary hearing, Lallement said he was solely responsible for the action of the police during the crowd disturbances around the Stade de France, located on the outskirts of Paris. Liverpool Underground Mayor Steve Rotheram, who attended the final, in which he said he was robbed, was due to give evidence to senators later on Thursday.

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Post expires at 12:05pm on Sunday June 19th, 2022