A Liverpool supporters group has called on France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin to resign following a government report that exonerates the Merseyside club’s fans from any blame over the horrific scenes that marred May’s Champions League final in Paris.
Thousands of fans were crushed and pepper sprayed outside Stade de France before and during the game which Jurgen Klopp’s side lost 1-0 to Real Madrid.
Following meetings with fans, police and local government authorities, the French Senate report published today said that the scenes were caused by a “chain of events and malfunctions” in the days and hours leading up to kick-off.
“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 report said.
In response the head of Liverpool’s Disabled Supporters Association, Ted Morris, has called on Mr Darmain to resign after he had initially attempted to blame fans for the chaos.
Mr Morris, who was interviewed by senators compiling the report, was caught up in the chaos outside the stadium and detailed his account to Mirror Football.
“From the beginning, UEFA, the French police, but in particular the French Minister of the Interior, Mr Gerald Darmanin, sought to blame the Liverpool fans, making slanderous and baseless accusations about their behaviour,” Mr Morris said in a statement on behalf of LDSA.
“They should all feel a deep sense of shame today, and as the LDSA previously requested, Mr Darmanin should do the decent and honourable thing and resign.”
UEFA, who were criticised for the ticketing system used at the stadium, are yet to comment on the report.
The Senate report added: “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.
“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.”
The report said the French authorities must learn the lessons from the “serious collective failure” which had occurred and apply them to the hosting of next year’s Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games.
The report described UEFA’s management of the ticketing system as “unsuitable” and criticised a lack of training for stewards, who it said were quickly overwhelmed. The French football federation had identified 2,471 counterfeit tickets, 1,644 of them in the southern sector of the stadium dedicated to Liverpool supporters.
Less than 48 hours after the match, France’s sports minister Amelie Oudea-Caster made a baseless claim that there were 30-40,000 counterfeit tickets in circulation.