UEFA has doubled down on its decision to blame Liverpool fans for the carnage that took place at the Stade de France last month Champions League final between the Reds and Real Madrid.
Liverpool fans, including women and children, who showed up early for the game were tear-gassed by French riot police, forced into dangerous scrums outside locked turnstiles and refused entry to the stadium despite showing valid tickets.
European football’s governing body has already apologized to fans of both clubs for the poor way the game went, but returned to blaming fans in a shocking hearing before the French Senate on Tuesday morning as part of its investigation into a fiasco that grabbed the headlines almost a month in France.
The organisation’s events director, Martin Kallen, made a number of allegations of counterfeit tickets, ticketless fans gathering outside the stadium and fan misconduct without providing any evidence.
“The pre-match risk assessment has shown us that there is a high risk of pitch invasion and a high risk of many counterfeit tickets,” said Kallen, without specifying who gave this information to UEFA. There is no example in modern history of Liverpool supporters conducting a pitch invasion.
UEFA’s representative in the Senate also made an attempt to rewrite history. Although no counterfeiting issues were reported before, during or after Liverpool’s previous Champions League finals in Kyiv 2018 and Madrid 2019, Kallen claimed they did.
“We were warned that many people would try to enter the stadium without tickets,” Kallen also claimed. “In the last two finals with Liverpool, there have been fans who wanted to come into the stadium with fake tickets or no tickets. We knew that beforehand.” Again, Kallen did not provide any evidence for UEFA’s arguments.
UEFA is currently conducting its own investigation into what happened at the Stade de France. Kallen warned that process will take at least three months and the sobering nature of the comments will do little to allay concerns from fans who fear the governing body will try to pass the buck on football fans in order to get its own protect reputation.
Kallen refuted French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin’s claims that up to 40,000 people tried to enter the Stade de France with fake tickets, saying: “We do not agree with the figure of 30 to 40,000 fake tickets put forward by the French authorities were given very quickly. But there were more than 2,600.”
Even UEFA’s figure of 2,600 is highly contestable, as fans with valid tickets, including family members of Liverpool fans, including left-back Andy Robertson’s family, said their legitimate tickets were forged by stewards duped. During the course of the Senate hearing, Kallen made a number of admissions to UEFA’s ticketing process that indicate the organization’s incompetence.
UEFA used a mix of digital and paper tickets for the event after discussions with Liverpool and Real Madrid. Kallen said UEFA tried to persuade both clubs to go exclusively with their digital blockchain system before discovering a huge flaw in the system that makes it immensely insecure.
“If you arrived at the turnstiles without Bluetooth activated, your QR code is not activated,” Kallen said. This means fans with legitimate UEFA-provided digital tickets at turnstiles were told their tickets were fake.
Also, Kallen admitted that paper ticket validation problems were caused by a faulty pen. “There was also a technical error with problems filtering and checking tickets with a faulty pen,” said the Swiss. Again, this suggests fans with real tickets were faked because UEFA’s ticketing system can be shut down by a faulty highlighter.
In a press conference held after a visit to the Stade de France to assess its safety, Senate Inquiry head Laurent Lafon said all the authorities involved in organizing the game had failed. “The connection to the French state is obvious,” Lafon said. “Almost everyone failed at some point.”
One senator even tried to hire Kallen over organizational failures, saying, “Fake tickets weren’t the main issue. There was the transport strike, the flow management problems, the police interventions, the crime problems around the stadium. It is not correct to speak only of fakes.’ Kallen responded to the heckling by continuing to blame the fans.
Thousands of video evidence from fans contradict the claims made by Kallen and previously by French Interior Minister Darmanin and Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement. Liverpool FC have collected 9000 testimonies from fans and images appear to show patient groups of fans being unnecessarily tear gassed and beaten by French police.
CCTV from the Stade de France was also “automatically” wiped out last week after failing to be rescued by authorities, infuriating Lafon and co-chair Fracois-Noel Buffet.
“It’s absolutely incomprehensible that not one person thought it would be a good idea to keep CCTV,” Buffett said at last week’s news conference. “It’s impossible, it’s unacceptable. It is normal that we have authority to view such CCTV images. There are many things that present us with great, great difficulties here.’
Representatives of Liverpool and Real Madrid supporters will address the Senate later in the afternoon.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/21/uefa-doubles-down-on-blame-of-liverpool-fans-over-stade-de-france-fiasco-16863398/ UEFA doubles Liverpool fans' blame for Stade de France fiasco | Soccer