French police sprayed Liverpool fans with pepper spray due to chaos at the entrance to the stadium

Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool fans forced to wait a long time to reach the Champions League final amid logistical chaos on Saturday.

The start of the exhibition match of the European football season, in which Liverpool lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, was delayed by 37 minutes and began as security was still struggling with the influx of disappointed fans at the Stade de France.

UEFA said thousands of supporters without tickets tried to gain access to the more than 80,000 capacity French national stadium, but did not indicate where they were from.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the stewards were attacked by supporters of the British side, who forced them to enter without tickets or with fake tickets.

French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera also shrugged off any shortcomings from the authorities, saying thousands of English fans were “complicating the work of stewards and police” and tweeted: “Violence has no place in stadiums.”

But the scenes of disorder drew criticism from the opposition.

Marine Le Pen expressed a “feeling of humiliation”, adding that “all the capitals that saw this remarked that France could no longer organize mass demonstrations without their degeneration”.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon made the same observation. “The image is deplorable, it worries, because we clearly see that we are not ready for events such as the Olympic Games,” the leader of La France Insoumise said on BFMTV.

Liverpool said they were “extremely disappointed” with the security issues faced by their supporters.

“This is the greatest match in European football and fans should not experience the scenes we saw tonight,” the club said in a post-match statement.

“We have formally requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable problems.”

The British government also called on UEFA to investigate the riots.

By Monday, UEFA responded by requesting an official investigation into the events at the Stade de France.

“Many fans gathered in a very small place, pressed against the fence. We then saw several officers hit the fence with batons to push them back, but the crowds against each other were so numerous that they couldn’t,” Liverpool’s Lord Mayor-elect Roy Gladden, who was present at the stadium, told Euronews. .

“Then we saw officers using what I found out to be pepper spray. I was completely shocked by what I saw,” Gladden said.

The reaction of the police causes anger, resentment

Angry Liverpool fans queuing up were seen dangling from railings and heard shouting: “Let us in. We have tickets.”

There have been many cases of fans breaking through the security system and trying to get into the stadium. The Associated Press saw two fans, one of whom was in a Liverpool uniform, who were knocked to the ground by the stewards and pushed out of the goal.

Three other supporters were seen evading the stewards and running through the lobby to the lower level of the stadium. Other people not wearing obvious club attire instead climbed over the fence, with Liverpool fans yelling at them to get down.

The final began despite fans still trying to get past ticket checks. OMON fired new tear gas rounds at people behind the fences from behind the security perimeter. Police and stewards fell to the ground, hit by tear gas.

After the final, anger reigned in the Liverpool team.

“I think almost all of our families have been affected,” said Liverpool defender Andy Robertson. “Obviously my tickets were through the club, and somehow someone told one of my buddies that he got a fake ticket, which I assure you it definitely wasn’t because it was clearly through me.”

“Therefore, it is clear that the French police decided to use tear gas against the fans and their families. It was badly organised.”

Merseyside Police, who cover Liverpool, tweeted that “the behavior of the fans at the turnstiles was exemplary in shocking circumstances”.

Supporter Colm Lacy saw “crying children and trapped people” at the entrances.

“People started jumping out of line, then they ripped out the gate, and then there was a push,” Lacey said.

“We’ve been standing at this gate since 6:15,” Liverpool fan Angela Murphy told AP through the fence. “I have very severe asthma and have been doused with tear gas twice. I really struggle.”

Asked what triggered the tear gas, Murphy replied: “Nothing, we were standing here. There was nothing. That’s just terrible. We behaved well.”

UEFA “sympathizes with the victims”

Police officers with batons and shields ran from gate to gate to prevent fans from entering the stadium without showing tickets. One policeman collapsed to the ground and had to help other officers. Police have repeatedly used tear gas against Liverpool fans.

Liverpool fan Joe Moorcroft complained that he was being treated like animals.

“It’s a shame. We’ve seen this before, it’s a health risk,” he said. “We have seen it and it will happen again. I feel it now. They threw tear gas at the fans.”

UEFA said it “sympathized with those affected” and announced an urgent investigation by the French police and authorities, along with the French Football Federation.

“Ahead of the game, the turnstiles at the end of Liverpool were blocked by thousands of fans who bought fake tickets that did not work on the turnstiles,” UEFA said in a statement.

“This resulted in crowds of fans trying to get inside. As a result, the start of the match has been delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans with genuine tickets as possible to gain access.

“As the number of people outside the stadium continued to grow after the game started, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them to leave the stadium.”

The scenes were reminiscent of the chaos at Wembley Stadium ahead of last year’s European Championship final. This was largely due to England fans aggressively trying to get into their home stadium for the game, which Italy won.

The final match of 2022 was to be held in St. Petersburg. Petersburg, but the venue for the most important game of the elite competition season was changed to Saint-Denis after Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24th.

Watch the interview with Liverpool Lord Mayor-elect Roy Gladden in the player above.