News from Macron: Ministers called ‘disgrace’ for ‘state lies’ over Champions League final | World | New
Ahead of the showpiece match in Paris on Saturday, tens of thousands of Liverpool FC supporters were herded under a bridge near the stadium, where they waited for hours in long queues. Footage shows people scaling barriers as crowds build, before police wearing shields and riot gear arrive shortly after 8 p.m. and start using tear gas. Tensions at the stadium entrance in France have been heightened by young Parisians, causing ticket offices to close.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin first tweeted: “Thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets or with counterfeit tickets, broke in and sometimes assaulted the stewards.
“Thank you to the very many police forces mobilized this evening in this difficult context.”
At a press conference on Monday, he blamed “industry-level fraud” for problems in Paris with 70% of tickets attempting to enter the Stade de France deemed to be fake.
French sports minister Amélie Oudea-Castera, who attended the match with Mr Darmanin, initially tweeted: “Attempts to intrude and defraud thousands of English fans have complicated the work of stewards and police forces. but will not tarnish (that of Real Madrid) victory.Violence has no place in the stadiums.
But Julien Sanchez, the mayor of Beaucaire and spokesman for Marine Le Pen, whom Mr Macron defeated in the recent presidential election, lambasted the two French ministers.
He tweeted a photo of Mr. Darmanin and Ms. Oudaa-Castera in the stadium, and got carried away: “State lies after state lies, these ministers are shaming France and losing all credibility.
“Covering their lies, many media outlets are also permanently discredited.
“Thanks to social networks and foreign media.”
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On Monday, Mr Darmanin claimed thousands of counterfeit tickets sparked the ensuing chaos as Liverpool fans tried to enter the stadium.
He told a press conference: “At 9:00 p.m. when the game was due to start, 97% of the Spanish fans were present, only 50% of the British fans had entered their section, which only shows the difficulties that have popped up from the entry relating to Liverpool supporters and not from the other entries.
“There was massive fraud at an industry level and organization of counterfeit tickets as pre-screening by Stade de France and the French Football Federation saw that 70% of the tickets were counterfeit.
“After passing the pre-filtering stage, 15% of the tickets were fake, more than 2,600 were non-validated tickets even though they had gone through the first filtering.
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“The massive presence of these counterfeit notes was the problem, which meant there were delays.
“There were 29 arrests that took place inside the Stade de France and more than half of these arrests concerned British supporters because they had entered the Stade de France.”
But the French government’s version of events has been torn apart by British authorities and Liverpool Football Club, who have insisted the carnage was caused by the French’s heavy-handed police.
Culture said the images circulating online were “deeply concerning” and wanted UEFA to launch a formal investigation.
She said: “I urge UEFA to open a formal investigation into what happened and why, in coordination with stadium staff, French police, the French Football Federation, Merseyside police and the Liverpool Football Club.”
Liverpool FC have also issued a statement calling for a full investigation into the events off the pitch.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.