Certainly one of the most important claims pushed by French officials to elucidate the chaotic crowd scenes that created a dangerous crush of fans outside last weekend’s Champions League final near Paris has been that tens of 1000’s of individuals arrived on the match bearing fake tickets.
France’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, has claimed as many as 70 percent of tickets presented on the Stade de France in St.-Denis were fake. He told a news conference Monday that the “root cause” of the chaos was roughly 30,000 to 40,000 English fans bearing counterfeit tickets — or no tickets — who jammed the entrances.
But in line with official numbers reviewed by The Recent York Times, the precise number of faux tickets intercepted by stewards manning the doorway gates was far lower: 2,589, to be exact.
That figure is nearly 3 times the same old variety of forgeries on the Champions League final, a game widely considered to be European soccer’s equivalent of the Super Bowl, but significantly lower than the figure utilized by Darmanin, who had as of Wednesday not provided details of the source of his estimate.
Darmanin and France’s sports minister, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who has made similar claims about fake tickets, have faced growing criticism over the handling of the sport. France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, on Wednesday called for “full transparency” in an investigation of the match-day scenes and their causes. At an appearance in front of a committee of the French senate later Wednesday, Darmanin admitted, “Clearly things might have been organized higher.”
“It is obvious,” he added, “that this celebration of sport was ruined.”
In what became a testy appearance in front of the committee, Darmanin and Oudéa-Castéra got here under sustained pressure over the organizational failures. In response, they largely repeated the language that has enraged Liverpool, its fans and members of the British government.
At one point, Oudéa-Castéra told lawmakers that Liverpool supporters carried a “very specific risk” within the view of the French authorities, without elaborating what she meant.
Darmanin, meanwhile, insisted the counterfeit ticket numbers were of an unprecedented scale, claiming at one point there have been so many who stadium security guards thought their tools to validate them were faulty.
The hearing lasted longer than an hour, ending with little clarity and a doubling down by the officials on their previous claims, again without evidence to support their conclusions.
That prompted one lawmaker to ask: “Since Saturday, we’ve blamed Liverpool fans and the club, striking staff and locals for the chaos. What permits you to make these declarations with no thorough investigation?”
Not all attendees had the identical experience at the ultimate. While most of Real Madrid’s fans arrived with electronic tickets, Liverpool requested paper ones for its official allocation of 23,000 tickets. Those tickets got here embedded with two most important security measures: one which needed to be confirmed with a chemical pen and a second that was a laser engraving of the Champions League trophy.
Those holding tickets without the 2 security measures were to be denied access by stewards at an initial checkpoint removed from the stadium’s bar code readers. But that system collapsed under a deluge of fans: To alleviate the growing crush of individuals, officials abandoned those first checks and allowed the crowds to maneuver closer to the stadium.
The debacle has led to chorus of criticism of the safety on the match, during which Real Madrid defeated Liverpool, 1-0, to say its record 14th European title. Liverpool police who attended in supporting roles labeled the situation outside the gates “shocking.” The club, its fans and a European supporters group all called for investigations at the same time as the sport was underway. And in the times since, British government officials have demanded answers from their French counterparts and European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, for the treatment of 1000’s of Liverpool supporters.
Supporters faced multiple issues, including dangerous crushes, after being corralled into narrow spaces, and the ultimate was delayed greater than half-hour because the French riot police used tear gas and pepper spray on fans after appearing to lose control of the situation. At the identical time, a whole bunch of local youths tried to force their way into the stadium, either through the turnstiles or by climbing over security fences. Officials estimated as many as 4,000 ticketless people could have succeeded.
A part of the reason into why Liverpool supporters found themselves trapped in such a small space has now turned to transportation problems on the day of the sport, including a strike by staff that affected certainly one of the key rail links to the stadium.
UEFA and native officials have compared travel data from Saturday’s game to figures from the French Cup final held on the Stade de France on May 7. They found that certainly one of the stations closest to the Stade de France had 4 times as many fans travel through its gates Saturday than had used the station in the course of the French Cup final. That, they consider, contributed to the damaging bottleneck of supporters.
It might be months before an entire picture of what occurred on the stadium emerges. On Tuesday, UEFA, reeling from chaotic scenes finally yr’s European Championship final in London in addition to the recent Europa League final in Seville, Spain, appointed a former education minister of Portugal, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, to steer an independent inquiry into the failures across the Champions League final.
The claims made by the French government’s representatives, though, proceed to infuriate Liverpool and its ownership. The club’s chairman, Tom Werner, said as much in a caustic letter to Oudéa-Castéra, the French sports minister.
He wrote, he said, “out of utter disbelief that a minister of the French government, a position of enormous responsibility and influence, could make a series of unproven pronouncements on a matter of such significance before a correct, formal, independent investigation process has even taken place.”
He decried the “loose data and unverified assertions” presented to reporters Monday before an investigation had taken place.
“The proven fact that your public position went against this objective is a priority in itself,” he added. “That you simply did so with none recourse to ourselves or our supporters is a fair greater one. All voices should count on this process, they usually should count equally and fairly.”
In addition to assailing Oudéa-Castéra for her claims, Werner also demanded a public apology. By late Tuesday, Oudéa-Castéra’s tone — though not her claims about fake tickets — had modified.
“The difficulty of the false tickets doesn’t change this: Liverpool is certainly one of the best clubs ever,” she wrote on Twitter. “And on Saturday there have been supporters with valid tickets that spent a terrible evening or weren’t in a position to watch the sport. We’re sorry for that.”
Liverpool continues to be inundated with video evidence shot on cellphones by its supporters. The photographs, lots of which have also been uploaded to social media, are sometimes harrowing, showing children and older fans coping with the consequences of tear gas fired — sometimes indiscriminately — by the riot police.
Fans of Real Madrid faced similar problems on their side of the stadium. For the reason that final, several supporters have come forward to say they were attacked or robbed on their way out and in of the stadium.
Amando Sánchez, 51, who traveled to Paris in a gaggle of 14, mainly relations, said his 87-year-old father and an older brother missed the sport in consequence of chaos on the entry gates. One other brother, Sánchez said, fought off an effort to steal his ticket as he prepared to present it at a stadium turnstile.
“Really nobody was in charge,” Sánchez said in an interview Wednesday.