UK calls for investigation after fans tear-gassed at Champions League final

Fans were tear gassed as they waiting to get into the stadium

British politicians have urged Uefa and the French authorities to launch a full investigation into the “deeply concerning” treatment of Liverpool fans at the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday night.

French police used tear gas and pepper spray against British football fans who were waiting to enter the Stade de France to watch the match.

The French government initially blamed the incident on the travelling supporters, but witnesses claimed that the majority of fans were behaving “impeccably” at the time.

British culture secretary Nadine Dorries and sports minister Nigel Huddleston were among those who joined Liverpool in urging Uefa to investigate what happened, after the club said the entry issues which delayed the kick off were “hugely disappointing”.

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Nadine Dorries called for an inquiry into the fan chaos

“The footage and accounts from Liverpool fans and the media on their entry to the Stade de France last night are deeply concerning,” Ms Dorries said.

“Thousands of ticket holders travelled to Paris in good time to support their team in the biggest match of their season.”

“It is in the interests of everyone involved to understand what happened and to learn lessons from these events,” the culture secretary added.

Mr Huddleston tweeted: “It is yet to be explained why access to the Stade de France was so limited which led to some LFC fans, including the young and elderly, being attacked with tear gas and unable to reach their seats.

“A full and urgent investigation must be launched by Uefa and French authorities.”

Later on Sunday, the French sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said her department would hold a meeting on Monday to ensure that lessons were learned.

Ian Byrne, the Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, attended the match in Paris and said he had never witnessed such scenes since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

As with that tragedy, he said he was concerned by the “narrative of lies” which he could see beginning to build.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted on Saturday night, blaming ticketless British fans for the delays that led to thousands of fans being stuck outside the perimeter fence for hours on end at the Stade de France and then targeted with tear gas.

Liverpool said the entry issues at the Stade de France and the breakdown of the security perimeter were “hugely disappointing”.

Tear gas was used on the fans waiting at the fence, despite Merseyside Police observers saying the majority of supporters had behaved in an “exemplary” manner there, and it was reportedly deployed again at the fan zone on the Cours de Vincennes immediately after the final whistle.

Uefa said the delays were caused by “thousands of fans” trying to gain entry with fake tickets which would not work in the turnstiles. The Paris police prefecture said these supporters “employed strong force” in an attempt to gain entry and delayed the entrance of those with genuine tickets.

The police said others then sought to capitalise on this and breached the fences.

“The rapid intervention of security forces allowed calm to return and helped remove the disruptors from the surroundings of the Stade de France,” a force statement read.

Kelly Simmons, the women’s professional game director at the Football Association, was caught up in the chaos.

“Crushed on the way in, unable to move for 90 mins. Face wedged against someone in front. Absolutely terrifying. Tear gassed on the way out as we were near a v minor skirmish. A night from hell #paris” she tweeted.

She added in a further tweet: “My legs were like jelly and had to keep sitting down in the game. All I could think was we have to get out at the end. All the fans near me in that crush behaved impeccably calling for calm/no panic. It was just sheer volume and nowhere to go as no gates open.”

And the problems did not end there for fans as after the 1-0 defeat many were reportedly assaulted and robbed by local youths on the 10-minute walk back to train stations.

Former Liverpool defender and now television pundit Jim Beglin said people were running “a gauntlet of thuggery”.

On Sunday afternoon Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan reiterated the club’s stance on the unsavoury events.

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He told LFCTV: “The stadium entry and breakdown of security in the perimeter was absolutely unacceptable and frankly the treatment of our fans as well. We are intent on ensuring there is an independent investigation.

“It is absolutely imperative we understand what happened last night and how we got into that situation where people’s safety was put at risk. It’s important we take whatever lessons there are and ensure it never happens again.”

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