Tuesday, July 5, 2022

French police chief apologises to Liverpool FC fans

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Paris police chief Didier Lallement has apologised to Liverpool FC fans for using teargas at the 2021/2022 UEFA Champions League final match on May 28.

Lallement also apologised for his wrong estimation of the number of fake tickets which were in circulation before and during the match.

The European showpiece in Paris was twice delayed due to what European football governing body UEFA initially described as “security reasons” outside the Stade de France due to crowd congestion.

Real Madrid went on to lift the trophy by defeating Liverpool FC1-0 after the match started 36 minutes late at 9:36 p.m.

But it was events outside the ground that dominated the headlines.

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Liverpool FC fans had complained of heavy-handed policing outside the stadium, with video footage showing teargas being used on supporters.

UEFA blamed ticketless fans trying to force entry and fake tickets.

But Liverpool FC demanded an investigation and European football’s governing body apologised to spectators and opened an inquiry.

Lallement, speaking at the French Senate on Thursday, admitted to making mistakes and acknowledged the overuse of teargas was not necessary.

“It is obviously a failure. It was a failure because people were pushed around and attacked. It was a failure because the image of the country was undermined,” he said.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also said that much of the blame lay with Liverpool FC fans and that 30,000 to 40,000 arrived without valid tickets.

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Darmanin’s claims were met with widespread backlash, with Reds’ supporters group Spirit of Shankly questioning the “incompetence” of the organisation around the final.

Lallement has acknowledged that the basis for the ticket estimation was unfounded.

“The figure has no scientific virtue but it came from feedback from police and public transport officials,” Lallement added.

“Maybe I was wrong, but it was constructed from all the information harvested.”

dpa/NAN

sani ahmad

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