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French minister blames Liverpool over final chaos

PARIS (AFP) – France’s sports minister yesterday blamed Liverpool over the chaos that marked its Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris, while expressing regret that tear gas had been used against some supporters.

The French government has faced a barrage of criticism from press and politicians in the UK over police handling of the match on Saturday, which saw thousands of Liverpool fans with tickets struggling to enter.

But French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera told RTL radio that Liverpool, in contrast to Real Madrid, had failed to properly organise the supporters who came to Paris.

“Liverpool left its supporters on the loose, this is a major difference,” she said.

The minister added that there had been 30,000-40,000 Liverpool fans with fake tickets or without tickets outside the Stade de France.

“We need to see where these fake tickets came from… and how they were produced in such large numbers,” she said.

She said “that the most regrettable aspect of what happened” was that tear gas was used against families and children who came to watch the final.

Oudea-Castera chaired a meeting of French security and football officials, as well as representatives of European football’s governing body UEFA.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Paris police chief Didier Lallement were in attendance.

She insisted that France was capable of hosting major sporting events as Paris prepares to hold the Olympics in 2024 as well as the final of the rugby World Cup in 2023.

French Sports, Olympic and Paralympic Games Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement in a meeting. PHOTO: AFP