Macron backlash: Ministers branded ‘disgrace’ for ‘state lies’ over Champions League final

French journalist 'ashamed' of police behaviour to Liverpool fans

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Before the showpiece game in Paris on Saturday, tens of thousands of Liverpool FC fans were funnelled underneath a bridge close to the stadium, where they waited for hours in long queues. Footage shows people climbing over barriers as crowds built up, before police carrying shields and riot gear moved in shortly after 8pm and began using tear gas. Tensions getting into the stadium in France were driven further by young Parisians, causing ticket gates to be shut.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin initially tweeted: “Thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets or with counterfeit tickets, forced entry and sometimes assaulted the stewards.

“Thank you to the very many police forces mobilized this evening in this difficult context.”

During a press conference on Monday, he blamed “fraud at an industrial level” for the problems in Paris with 70 percent of tickets attempting to enter the Stade de France thought to be fake.

French minister of sport Amelie Oudea-Castera, who attended the game with Mr Darmanin, had initially tweeted: “The attempts of intrusion and fraud by thousands of English fans have complicated the work of stewards and police forces but will not tarnish (Real Madrid’s) victory.  Violence has no place in the stadiums.”

But Julien Sanchez, the Mayor of Beaucaire and spokesman for Marine Le Pen, whom Mr Macron beat in the recent presidential election, has lashed out the two French ministers.

He tweeted a picture Mr Darmanin and Ms Oudaa-Castera in the stadium, and raged: “State lies after state lies, these ministers are a disgrace to France and are losing all credibility.

“Covering their lies, many media are also permanently discredited.

“Thanks to social networks and foreign media.”

On Monday, Mr Darmanin claimed thousands of fake tickets had triggered the mayhem that ensued as Liverpool fans attempted to enter the stadium.

He said at a press conference: “At 21:00, when the match was supposed to start, 97 percent of the Spanish supporters were present, only 50 percent of the British supporters had got into their section which does show the difficulties that arose only from the entrance relating to the Liverpool supporters and not the other entrances.

“There was massive fraud to an industrial level and organisation of fake of tickets because the pre-filtering by the Stade de France and the French football federation saw that 70 per cent of tickets were fake.

“Once through the pre-filtering stage, 15 per cent of tickets were fake, more than 2,600 were non-validated tickets even though they’d gone through the first filtering.

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“The massive presence of these fake tickets was the issue which meant there were delays.

“There were 29 arrests that took place within the Stade de France and more than half of those arrests were British supporters because they’d intruded inside the Stade de France.”

But the French Government’s version of events has been torn apart by UK authorities and Liverpool Football Club, who have insisted the carnage was caused by heavy-handed policing from the French.

Culture said footage circulating online was “deeply concerning” and wants UEFA to launch a formal investigation.

She said: “I urge UEFA to launch a formal investigation into what went wrong and why, in coordination with stadium staff, the French Police, Federation Francaise de Football, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Football Club.”

Liverpool FC also released a statement calling for a thorough investigation into events outside the ground.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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