Jurgen Klopp is partly to blame for the chaos that engulfed Saturday’s Champions League final, according to France’s interior minister, after encouraging Liverpool fans to flock to Paris whether they had tickets or not.
Chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France saw supporters with tickets having to wait in enormous queues, before French police sprayed tear gas at scores of peaceful fans – including women and children – waiting outside the gates.
French police however blamed Liverpool fans for the disruption before Gerald Darmanin sensationally claimed up to 70 per cent of tickets sold were fakes, and that between 30,000 and 40,000 English supporters were carrying forgeries.
Prior to the final – Liverpool’s first in the Champions League since they beat Tottenham in Madrid three years ago – the club’s boss Klopp had said: ‘I don’t want to invite people to Paris but this time it is big enough.’
But speaking at a press conference at the French Ministry of Sport, Mr Darmanin laid part of the blame at Klopp’s door, saying: ‘It is only in football with certain English clubs that there are these problems.
‘The presence of so many British fans without tickets has already happened, notably in 2019 in Madrid. And it created similar types of difficulties. There were the same issues at Wembley last year [at the Euro 2020 final].
Jurgen Klopp is partly to blame for the chaos that engulfed Saturday’s Champions League final – according to France’s interior minister
Chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France saw supporters with tickets having to wait in enormous queues
‘The behavior, the disorganization and a huge market in fake tickets. And I remind you that the coach of Liverpool a few days ago called for fans to come to France even without tickets.
‘And we found ourselves with tens and thousands of British fans of whom a part has fully respected and bought tickets or went to the dedicated fan zone.
‘I remind you that there were tens of thousands of fans in the fan zone without a problem. They have respected the rules. But there was a smaller but active part that clashed with our security system. ‘
French police sprayed tear gas at scores of peaceful fans, including women and children
The Reds were allocated less than 20,000 tickets in the 81,000 capacity Stade de France for the final, but crisis talks had to be held between Emmanuel Macron’s government, UEFA, the mayor of Paris and the French FA to ascertain what went on.
In full, Klopp said about the lack of tickets before the completion of the Premier League season: ‘It’s the only bad thing about the journey. It’s massive, what they ask for.
‘I really hope they all can make it somehow and create – of course they will – an incredible atmosphere. It’s nice.
‘So if you don’t get a ticket – I don’t want to invite people to Paris but this time it is big enough. I did last time for Basel (the 2016 Europa League final) and the whole of Switzerland was like this (face palms) but I think Paris is big enough to go there without a ticket and have a good time. Behave yourself but be in the best possible mood.
‘If you can’t go there, enjoy it here in any kind of surrounding. What I love about this game is that the world will be red or white. Everybody will be either / or and it makes it a proper final. ‘
French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said Klopp’s comments were partly to blame for the chaos
But Mr Darmanin claimed 40,000 fake Champions League tickets circulating among Liverpool fans had caused dangerous crushes and long delays.
However Ronan Evain, head of the Football Supporters Europe association who was at the game, said claims of up to 40,000 fake tickets being in circulation are ‘completely fanciful’. The bigger issue, he said, was a train strike that had shut down one of the two lines leading to the stadium.
Pierre Barthelemy, a lawyer representing French Liverpool fans, agreed with Mr Evain’s assessment – describing government figures as ‘delusional’, ‘unsourced’, and part of a political smear campaign against English fans which he said “does not correspond to what everyone has seen . ‘
The British government also said it was ‘hugely disappointed’ by the way Liverpool fans were treated.
The French government’s allegations stand at odds with accounts from Liverpool players, fans, police observers, lawyers and supporters’ groups who say faulty turnstiles and heavy-handed policing created unnecessary and dangerous bottlenecks.
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said friends who had given tickets to were turned away when the turnstiles failed to recognize their QR codes.
UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said in the aftermath of the chaos: ‘The footage and accounts from Liverpool fans and the media on their entry to the Stade de France are deeply concerned. Thousands of ticket holders traveled to Paris in good time to support their team in the biggest match of their season.
‘I urge UEFA to launch a formal investigation into what went wrong and why, in coordination with stadium staff, the French Police, the Federation Francaise de Football, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Football Club.
‘It is in the interests of everyone involved to understand what happened and to learn lessons from these events.’
French officials presented two near-identical passes while claiming one was a forgery (right)
Liverpool fans including families and young children were ‘tear gassed’ by French police