Real Madrid have called on the authorities to explain why supporters were left “helpless and defenseless” at the Champions League final in Paris’ Stade de France.
Real – who beat Liverpool 1-0 in the final to claim the trophy for a record 14th time – say they also want to know why the stadium was chosen as the venue for the match, which was moved from St. Petersburg in February after the invasion of Ukraine.
The Spanish side said their supporters were “victims” of the “unfortunate events” that took place at the Stade de France, adding that the scenes had caused “deep outrage around the world”.
Real’s statement said “many of the fans were violently assaulted, harassed and robbed” and “some of them even had to spend the night in hospital”.
Their complaints echo those of Liverpoolwith Billy Hogan, the Premier League club’s chief executive, saying this week he has been “horrified” by accounts from fans after receiving more than 6,000 pieces of feedback on issues surrounding last week’s game.
The match – the biggest in club football – was delayed by nearly 40 minutes as fans struggled to enter the Stade de France. Some supporters with legitimate tickets were denied entry into the ground, while others were tear-gassed by police.
UEFA initially blamed the delayed kick-off on Liverpool fans arriving late to the stadium, while Amelie Oudea-Castera, the French sports minister, accused Liverpool fans of flying “out in the wild” of causing the issues.
Oudea-Castera has since commissioned a report on the troubles that marred the showpiece event, with Michael Cadot, the inter-ministerial delegate for major sporting events, asked to produce the report within 10 days.
Hogan said his response to the sports minister’s claims was “disbelief”, and added that he had spoken to his counterpart at Real Madrid, “who made it clear that their fans also had issues”.
Hogan added: “They had major concerns with the matchday operation, including the policing operation around the match. I know they’re equally concerned about making sure this, again, is an independent and open investigation.”
The Liverpool chief executive added that the club wrote to UEFA again on Thursday with 13 questions that they want answering around details of the investigation into events at the final.
French blame ‘fraud’ for CL chaos
Gerald Darmanin, the French interior minister, blamed “fraud at an industrial level” for the chaos at the Champions League final, saying 70 per cent of the tickets used to attempt entry into the Stade de France were fake.
“At 21:00, when the match was supposed to start, 97 per cent of the Spanish supporters were present, only 50 per cent of the British supporters had got into their section, which does show the difficulties that arose only from the entrance relating to the Liverpool supporters and not the other entrances, “Darmanin said.
“There was a massive fraud to an industrial level and the organization of fake tickets because the pre-filtering by the Stade de France and the French football federation saw that 70 per cent of tickets were fake.
“Once through the pre-filtering stage, 15 per cent of tickets were fake, more than 2,600 were non-validated tickets even though they’d gone through the first filtering.
“The massive presence of these fake tickets was the issue which meant there were delays. There were 29 arrests that took place within the Stade de France and more than half of those arrests were British supporters because they’d intruded inside the Stade de France. “
Oudea-Castera said that up to 40,000 people either had fake tickets or no ticket at all, adding that “everyone wants to ensure this will never happen again”.
She said: “Some people had bought tickets and were deprived of a match and we would like to say how sorry we are to all those people because their Saturday night experience was completely spoiled. We have asked UEFA for those people should be identified and could be compensated soon to try and overcome their frustration.
“The major central point is to really understand exactly what happened during this massive fraud as far as the ticketing is concerned. There are witnesses of this and figures corroborate that 30,000 to 40,000 without tickets or with fake tickets. The fake tickets looked incredibly like normal tickets which meant some controls didn’t notice it.
“We want there to be a very detailed, in-depth inquiry with UEFA to see what happened, why, how and to what extent. UEFA has heard our request and we’re waiting for the rapid setting off of this inquiry.”
Oudea-Castera had earlier blamed Liverpool fans who turned up without valid tickets, telling French radio RTL: “What happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets.”
UEFA blamed “thousands of fans with fake tickets” for causing delays, while UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries called for a formal investigation into what caused the chaos.
‘Treat French claims about fans with extreme caution’
Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol speaking earlier this week:
“[The French explanation] does not tally at all with what I saw. Let’s be clear about what’s happened in Paris this morning. We’ve had a meeting between the French sports minister, the French interior minister, UEFA and the Paris police chief Didier Lallement. Now I’m sure at this meeting this morning, the police chief had been asked what happened on Saturday. This is embarrassing for France. It was a shambles.
“Look at all the terrible headlines around the world. They are hosting the Rugby World Cup next year. They are hosting the Olympics in 2024. I’m sure he was asked to explain what went wrong and I think he has passed the blame for what happened on Liverpool supporters and now fake tickets.
“I’m sure there were some fake tickets. There are always fake tickets for big finals but I didn’t see anything that looked like an industrial massive fraud operation. For instance, I didn’t have Liverpool supporters coming up to me complaining or being upset that they bought fake tickets.
“They were coming up to me complaining about the fact that they were being tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed and crushed. They were being treated like animals by the French police.
What I saw was a shambles, total disorganization and the blame was totally with UEFA, the French authorities, the stadium authorities and the French police. We were in a situation where 20,000 Liverpool supporters turned up at that stadium up to five hours before the kick -off and they were asked to wait in a confined space and there was a gap which was only big enough for one person that 20,000 people had to be filtered through.
“There were no Liverpool supporters at this meeting and there were no Real Madrid supporters at this meeting. I didn’t see a single fake ticket. I would treat with extreme caution what was said at this press conference.
“Not a single supporter came up to me and said, ‘I was sold a fake ticket. I’ve beented thousands of pounds on this.’ I saw some very, very upset supporters because they were being treated terribly by the French police. That is what I saw.I saw women and children in tears, women and children being tear-gassed.
“From the Real Madrid supporters I spoke to and what I saw with my own eyes, there were a lot of problems at the Real Madrid end as well. I know you’re seeing this narrative, especially on social media, asking why there were only problems at the Liverpool end, while everything was nice and peaceful at the Real Madrid end.
“That was not the case. I was actually pepper-sprayed at the Real Madrid end of the ground.
“There were major problems at the Real Madrid end of the ground as well. There were many, many local French youths who got into the Real Madrid end of the ground. Many Real Madrid supporters were mugged and attacked after the game as well, so it was not all happy at the Real Madrid end of the ground either. “