Sports

UEFA slams France’s claim of 30,000-40,000 counterfeit tickets at Champions League final

French Senate commission chief says English supporters not to be blamed

Shweta Desai   | 21.06.2022
UEFA slams France’s claim of 30,000-40,000 counterfeit tickets at Champions League final

PARIS

UEFA’s general manager on Tuesday slammed France’s exaggerated claims of 30,000-40,000 counterfeit tickets that led to the chaotic mismanagement of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris last month.

Martin Kallen acknowledged the detection of the fake tickets at the Stade de France stadium during a Senate hearing.

“There were 2,600 counterfeit tickets presented in front of the turnstiles,” he said. “There must have been more ... how many? It is not believed to be 35 to 40,000.”

UEFA is the governing body of European football and the umbrella organization for 55 national associations, which organizes matches in the region.

In the days after the debacle, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, and Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement blamed British supporters of Liverpool for barging in at the stadium in massive numbers without tickets or with counterfeit tickets.

The number of such supporters was between "30,000 to 40,000,” they said.

The statistics have since been disputed by the British authorities and French lawmakers have clarified it was an “estimate” of supporters who were in Paris for the match and not specifically at the stadium.

Kallen said Liverpool had informed UEFA about the possibility of counterfeit tickets but it was not the only factor for the mismanagement of the crowd at the stadium that lead to a 35-minute delay to the start of the match.

“The causes are multiple. There was the transport strike which changed the flow of supporters. There was the bad reaction of the stewards and the police, the problems of criminality around the stadium,” he said.

English fans not cause of disruptions

The chairman of the law commission, Francois-Noel Buffet, who is chairing the Senate hearings involving testimonies from stakeholders, including official authorities and fan club spectators, defended British supporters who were blamed as the cause of the chaos.

“The English supporters were not the cause of these incidents. Let's say things clearly. They showed great control in a chaotic environment,” he said.

As gates were jammed due to fake tickets and hundreds of supporters broke the security cordon and jumped the metal gates to enter the stadium, official ticket holders were stuck in queues for hours and police fired tear gas in close proximity to the crowd, which included small children.

An inter-ministerial report by the government’s sports committee concluded that a series of “systematic malfunctions of the controls” was the cause of the disruptions.

Following Russia’s war on Ukraine in February, the final, originally scheduled in Saint Petersburg, was canceled and reorganized at Stade de France in Paris.

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