France accuses ticket fraud of being behind Champions League final chaos

French authorities on Monday defended police for indiscriminately firing tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool fans in the Champions League final, while blaming industry levels of fraud which saw 30,000 to 40 000 people try to enter the Stade de France with fake tickets or not at all.

After a chaotic meeting on Saturday, sport and home affairs ministers passed the blame to Liverpool fans without providing details of how they were sure so many counterfeit tickets were in circulation. People with legitimate tickets through Liverpool and UEFA said they struggled to access the stadium.

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“There was massive fraud at an industrial level and an organization of counterfeit tickets because of the pre-screening by the Stade de France and the French Football Federation, 70% of the tickets were counterfeit tickets entering the Stade de France” , said the Minister of the Interior. says Gerald Darmanin. “Fifteen percent of the counterfeit tickets were also counterfeited after the first screening…over 2,600 tickets were confirmed by UEFA as non-validated tickets even though they had passed the first screening.

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“A massive presence of these counterfeit tickets was of course the reason why there were delays, three times the start of the match was delayed.”

The final, which Liverpool lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, started 37 minutes late. Tear gas and pepper spray were targeted at Liverpool fans, affecting children – a tactic championed by Darmanin to avoid fatalities.

“I would like to thank the police, also those who worked in the stadium because they were very calm and they knew how to avoid drama and therefore thank you for having organized the pre-screening but for lifting it when there was any. too much pressure to avoid a tragedy, “said Darmanin. “It was a decision taken by the prefecture to avoid any type of death or serious injury.

French Sports Minister Amelie Oueda-Castera blamed fans who arrived late at the stadium for crowd control issues, but did not say when they should have arrived at the stadium on the outskirts of Paris.

“As we have seen, certain aspects of flow management must be improved in high-risk matches, first filtering, second filtering, and we must take care to look closely at electronic ticketing to avoid fraud as much as possible. is concerned,” Ouéda-Castéra said. “It’s something that is absolutely essential.”

There was no excuse for the conduct of the authorities.

“We are extremely sorry for all the people whose experience was ruined this whole evening,” Ouéda-Castéra said. “For people who had purchased tickets and were unable to attend the match. That’s why we asked UEFA to really work on a compensation system for these people – 2,700, including Britons – so that they are compensated.”

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