‘Apologise to British!’ Macron revolt as French officials TURN over Champions League row

Champions league final chaos has MP raging

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The start of Liverpool and Real Madrid’s Champions League final had to be delayed by 36 minutes amid safety concerns, as footage showed fans outside a locked gate at Stade de France. Interior minister Gérald Darmanin claimed “massive, industrial-scale” ticket fraud led to Liverpool fans appearing en masse, adding of the approximately 30 arrests made at the Stade de France “more than half concerned British citizens.”

However, French officials disagreed with the minister and blamed the police and Mr Darmanin for the treatment of Liverpool fans.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, left-wing Presidential candidate, said on Sunday: “The images are lamentable, they are disturbing because we can clearly see that we are not prepared for events such as the Olympic Games.”

Marine Le Pen, Rassemblement National leader, called the incident a “humiliation” for France.

David Lisnard, Mayor of Cannes, said on Twitter: “As often, the Executive has made a diversion and has rushed denouncing the English, disregarding the truth: that of a violent population of thugs that spoils every event because there is impunity and lack of an appropriate response.”

France Jamet, MEP for Rassemblement National, added: “The French government dares to blame the English fans to hide the fact that it is now incapable of organising an international event without our scum turning it into chaos. What a shame for France!”

Jordan Bardella, also a Rassemblement National MEP, said: “Gérald Darmanin seems to fear an out-of-control situation in Seine-Saint-Denis more than the reaction of the UK.

“This Government is ready to create a diplomatic incident in order not to acknowledge the impoverishment of our country!”

Jérôme Rivière, Reconquête MEP, said: “Now that everyone has seen your lie it would be good to apologise to the British for falsely accusing them and to the French for the shameful fake news.”

Rassemblement National MEP Nicolas Bay added: “Gérald Darmanin is lying when he explains that the outbursts are the fault of the British fans.

“It is enough to see the images to understand that the culprits are not really British.”

François-Xavier Bellamy, Les Republicains MEP, said: ‘This humiliating fiasco shows how delinquency rules in France – and how lying is the only strategy of this government.

“Despite what the entire European press has seen, Darmanin blames the victims rather than confronting the culprits.”

Alexis Villepelet, Debout la France spokesperson, added: “The images sadly show scum living in France, recognisable by their ugly French.

“To point only at the English is to deny reality. Solutions will never come from those who are unable to see the problems.”

Mr Darmanin said on Monday there’d been 30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans with fake tickets or without tickets outside the stadium.

He defended the police’s actions, as he said “the decisions taken prevented deaths or serious injury”, and added: “We regret a disorganisation in the admission of British supporters.”

French sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said Liverpool fans without valid tickets were responsible for the initial crowd problems at the match, as well as blaming local youths trying to force their way into the game.

Ms Oudéa-Castéra claimed there were “no problems” regarding Real supporters and the Spanish side had controlled their travelling fans better than Liverpool.

She told French radio RTL before an emergency meeting about the policing row on Monday: “What we really have to bear in mind is that what happened first of all was this mass gathering of British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets.

“When there are that many people by the entrance to the stadium, there will be people trying to force their way in through the doors of the Stade de France, and a certain number of youths from the nearby area who were present tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd.”

Before the match, Liverpool fans approaching the south-west corner of the ground from the Stade de France-Saint-Denis RER station were herded off a road closed to traffic and on to a placement that was then partially blocked by two police vans.

They were then funnelled to a ramp that led up towards the stadium concourse where bags and tickets were checked.

As crowds began to gather to dangerous levels, the initial check was waived, which allowed fans up to the fence surrounding the stadium concourse.

There was footage of some fans climbing the fence and running past stewards, however the vast majority remained in the queues for security checks.

Many of the remaining fans were pepper-sprayed for a failure to disperse, despite it being unclear where fans should move to.

The game was delayed by 36 minutes to allow fans to enter the Stade de France, with it being reported at half-time tear gas was still being used outside and that police had locked down the stadium.

A statement from UEFA said: “In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles. This created a build-up of fans trying to get in.

“As a result, the kick-off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access. As numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kick off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.

“UEFA is sympathetic to those affected by these events and will further review these matters urgently together with the French police and authorities, and with the French Football Federation.”

Liverpool FC said it was “hugely disappointed” by the treatment of fans in Paris.

It said: “Supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight.

“We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”

Additional reporting from Maria Ortega

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