says UEFA must ‘guarantee’ fan safety at its future events, after Liverpool fans suffered physical and mental injuries in the carnage at the UEFA final against in May.
Reds fans including women, children and the disabled were tear gassed, hit with riot shields by police forces and robbed by armed gangs of local youths at European football’s showpiece event, with a French senate investigation set to report this week on the cause of the problems which left some supporters traumatised and others with serious injuries.
Prior to kick-off at the Stade de France, which was twice delayed, UEFA published messages on big screens at the stadium blaming the late arrival of fans for the chaos.
Once fans had proven that claim to be a lie by posting time-stamped photographic and video evidence on social media showing that they were locked in dangerous crushes outside turnstiles hours before kick-off, French politicians began to conduct a smear campaign to pass the buck to football supporters rather than accept the failures of authorities, by claiming that up to 40,000 Liverpool fans with fake tickets had caused the problems by trying to enter the stadium.
The authorities’ provided no evidence for their version of events and even allowed CCTV footage from the stadium to be “automatically” deleted, while their claims about a massive ticket forgery were immediately discredited, with chief of police Didier Lallement admitting he had made the number up himself and that it had ‘no scientific value.’
The senate will present the findings of its investigation on 13 July, and news outlet says it has been told that the report will blame ‘multiple organisational failures’ for what it calls a ‘fiasco’, with fans set to be exonerated.
European football governing body UEFA is conducting its own parallel investigation, and Liverpool manager Klopp says that fan safety should be top priority at future Champions League finals and other major events the organisation runs.
‘All of the information I got immediately showed that if the Liverpudlians had not been as calm as they were, it could have been much for worse than it was, and it was already really bad,’ Klopp said while in Thailand for Liverpool’s pre-season tour.
The Liverpool manager explained late last week that his family was caught up in the chaos outside the stadium, while family members of left-back Andy Robertson were told their tickets were fake despite them being legitimate.
UEFA is running its own parallel investigation into what happened, with an independent panel appointed to conduct an analysis under the guidance of Portuguese politician and academic Dr. Tiago Rodrigues. Klopp insists that UEFA must make changes in the future to protect the people who attend its events.
‘You have to wait for these different steps [in the investigations.] Step-by-step we get more information about who was responsible, how it could have happened. Everybody needs to know about it. It will change nothing about this game, but it has to change things for the next game, for big events wherever they are.
‘Supporters have to be protected. That’s what UEFA have to guarantee and why everyone in France needs to make sure we know why it happened.’
In a further development, Lallement’s departure as chief of police is set to become official on 20 July. The 66-year-old has been rumoured to be leaving the role for several weeks, but the handling of the final and the humiliation his explanation for events has brought the French senate led to increased calls for his sacking or resignation, and appears to have hastened the decision.
Minister of the interior Gérald Darmanin and sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, wildly lambasted for their attempt to blame for fans for the failures of their own authorities, have shifted tone recently to become more conciliatory and have stopped repeating the claims they made which were proven to be entirely false.
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