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Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, apologized to “everyone who suffered from bad administration” at the Paris Champions League final.
The Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne, who attended the final, called Darmanin’s remarks a “hugely critical moment in our collective quest for the truth to be known” and said they made the argument for “a complete and transparent probe” stronger.
Gérald Darmanin, who has made hotly contested statements regarding the number of fake tickets being sold at the Stade de France, refrained from apologizing to the Liverpool supporters he held responsible for the issues on the night the team lost to Real Madrid.
Following the 1-0 loss to Real Madrid, thousands of Liverpool supporters were barred out of the stadium, and police subsequently used tear gas to disperse the crowd. At first, the French government blamed Liverpool fans for the mayhem outside the stadium.
Amelie Oudea-Castera, France’s minister of sport, and Gerald Darmanin, minister of the interior, said that disruption was caused by people seeking to enter the stadium without tickets or with fake tickets.
Nevertheless, multiple eyewitness reports of significant traffic troubles on the stadium’s approach and patient supporters being shut out for almost an hour due to complications with ticket scanning.
After the game, fans reported that local gangs had looted them, and they said that the police, who had previously used harsh tactics to cope with the problem of the rising crowd provided no security.
Darmanin claimed that they had taken that experience to heart and that the latest France matches in the Nations League and the Top 14 rugby championship had all gone off without a hitch.
Darmanin had since recanted after testifying before the senate that some fans were late, some were inebriated, and over 40,000 attempted to enter the stadium without tickets or with fraudulent tickets in “huge fraud on an industrial scale.”
Darmanin did not back down from his accusations, but the proof offered last week by Ted Morris of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters and Joe Blott of Spirit of Shankly compelled him to acknowledge “poor management” of the spectacle.
Gérald Darmanin apologized for “the inappropriate deployment of teargas” before a French Senate committee last month, but a Uefa official, Martin Kallen, dismissed his assertions that 30,000 to 40,000 supporters attended the Stade de France without tickets or with fraudulent tickets.
About 2,600 fake tickets, according to the head of events for UEFA, were brought to the turnstiles. Many tickets failed to reach the turnstiles, he continued. The number? We can’t really confirm, so we don’t know. We don’t think the figure of more or less 30,000 to 40,000 was cited in France.