French police chief apologizes to Liverpool FC supporters
Paris police chief Didier Lallement has apologized to Liverpool FC supporters for using tear gas during the 2021/2022 UEFA Champions League final on May 28.
Lallement also apologized for his poor estimate of the number of counterfeit notes in circulation before and during the game.
Europe’s showpiece in Paris has been twice delayed due to what European football’s governing body UEFA initially described as ‘security reasons’ outside the Stade de France due to crowd congestion.
Real Madrid then lifted the trophy by beating Liverpool FC 1-0 after the game started 36 minutes behind at 9:36 p.m.
But it was the events off the pitch that grabbed the headlines.
Liverpool FC fans had complained of brutal policing outside the stadium, with video footage showing tear gas being used on supporters.
UEFA blamed ticketless fans trying to force entry and fake tickets.
But Liverpool FC demanded an investigation and European football’s governing body apologized to spectators and launched an investigation.
Lallement, speaking in the French Senate on Thursday, admitted making mistakes and acknowledging that the excessive use of tear gas was unnecessary.
“It was obviously a failure. It was a failure because people were pushed around and attacked. It was a failure because the image of the country was tarnished,” he said.
READ ALSO: How to win the UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid v Liverpool
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also said much of the blame fell on Liverpool FC supporters and that 30,000 to 40,000 had arrived without valid tickets.
Darmanin’s claims sparked widespread backlash, with the Reds Spirit of Shankly supporters group questioning the ‘incompetence’ of the organization around the final.
Lallement acknowledged that the basis for the ticket’s estimate was unfounded.
“The figure has no scientific merit but it comes from feedback from the police and public transport officials,” added Lallement.
“Maybe I was wrong, but it was built from all the information gathered.”
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