June 28, 2022
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UK calls for clarity, backs investigation following chaos at Champions League final

The British Ambassador in Paris backed an investigation into the chaos that delayed the start of the Champions League final by more than half an hour and left thousands of supporters stranded outside the stadium, many of them Liverpool fans.

Menna Rawlings, Britain’s ambassador to France, said she welcomed the UEFA’s commitment to investigate the violent scenes on Saturday evening around the Stade de France, in Saint-Denis near Paris.

 

“We need to establish the facts,” she tweeted Sunday following the final that saw Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0.

The organizers of the final said “thousands of fans who’d purchased “fake tickets blocked the turnstiles at the Liverpool end, creating a bottleneck and delaying kick-off. Gerald Darmanin, the French Interior Minister, blamed “thousands of British supporters who forced their entry into the stadium’s premises, accusing some of them of assaulting staff working at the venue.

Yet media including the New York Times and Sky News reported on organizational problems as well as violence between local youths and police forces. A video by daily Le Parisien showed a Liverpool fan describing how another supporter had his ticket snatched from his hands.

UEFA said it would review these matters “urgently with French police and authorities as well as with the French Football Federation.”

Footage of police forces using pepper-spray outside the stadium as well as individuals climbing fences to get into the premises prompted various reactions Sunday.

Marine Le Pen, who failed to beat President Emmanuel Macron in last month’s presidential elections as candidate for the National Rally far right party, called for a

Parliamentary investigation into the events during an interview on RTL TV.

“France is no longer able to organize major events without them degenerating,” she said, blaming the chaos in part on the “traditional thugs from the suburbs.”

France is hosting the Rugby World Cup next year and the summer Olympics in 2024.