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14th Jul 2022

Liverpool fans unfairly blamed for Champions League chaos, French Senate report finds

Callum Boyle

Liverpool supporters’ group, Spirit of Shankly, want a ‘full apology’.

A French Senate report has concluded that it was unfair to blame Liverpool for the chaos that ensued outside the stadium during the Champions League final in Paris.

Fans were subjected to long queues and heavy-handed tactics from French authorities, which included being ‘tear-gassed’ and ‘pepper-sprayed’, with kick-off at Stade de France Stadium delayed by over 30 minutes.

France’s interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, initially pinned the blame on ticketless Liverpool supporters, who had tried to enter the stadium.

However, after speaking to Liverpool supporters, French police, government officials and UEFA’s events director, Martin Kallen, the Senate published their initial findings in a report Wednesday.

The report found that the chaos had been caused by a “chain of events and malfunctions” leading up the final on May 28.

It said: “It is unfair to have wanted to make supporters of the Liverpool team bear the responsibility for the disturbances that occurred, as the Minister of the Interior did to divert attention from the inability of the state to adequately manage the crowds present and to curb the action of several hundred violent and co-ordinated offenders.

“The systems put in place had major shortcomings with regard to the intelligence (absence of hooligans but presence of delinquents in large numbers), the transport routes for supporters (removal of a drop-off route at the surroundings of the stadium) and insufficient communication.”

The report added: “It is not only in the execution that problems arose. Upstream, the crisis scenarios were insufficiently worked on and did not demonstrate the necessary flexibility in the face of so many unanticipated events.”

Liverpool fans

French authorities have been told by the Senate to learn lessons from the “serious collective failure” and described UEFA as “unsuitable.”

The European football governing body are conducting their own independent review.

Liverpool supporters’ group, Spirit of Shankly, have demanded a “full apology” from the French government and a French Parliamentary inquiry.

The group said: “Spirit of Shankly would like to thank the Senate both for welcoming the testimonies of fans and consequently vindicating them from any responsibility.

“We also believe only a full French Parliamentary inquiry, with witnesses testifying under oath, will bring truth and justice, and will continue to lobby to achieve it.”

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