France’s interior minister has blamed “fraud on an industrial scale” for chaos at the Champions League final in Paris – but expressed “regret” for the event’s obvious “disorganisation“.
France says 30 to 40,000 English fans turned up at the Stade de France without valid tickets for the final showpiece which Liverpool lost to Real Madrid.
“I would like to express our regrets with regard to the organisation of this final, because some people were not able to see the whole of the match,” Gerald Darmanin told a news conference.
“And, of course, I deplore also the errors that took place before this football match.
“We regret that there was disorganisation with regard to welcoming the British supporters as opposed to the Spanish supporters.”
“It was noted there was massive fraud on an industrial scale and organisation for fake tickets because the pre-filtering by the Stade de France and the French Football Federation saw that 70% of tickets were fake tickets coming into the stadium,” he said.
Mr Darmanin said half of the 29 or 30 arrests inside the stadium had been of British citizens.
But he added that while French authorities had taken steps to prepare for the risk of English hooliganism at the final, they were caught off-guard by “local delinquents” who also turned up to cause trouble.
French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera had blamed Liverpool fans who turned up without valid tickets: “What happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets.”
She spoke before a meeting with UEFA and other officials to discuss violent scenes that have prompted criticism of the Paris police.
They repeatedly fired tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool fans waiting to get into the stadium in Paris on Saturday for a game their team lost 1-0 to Real Madrid.
The UK has demanded a full investigation into what happened, and Boris Johnson’s spokesman described the scenes as “deeply upsetting and concerning“.