Several Liverpool fans made their voices heard as they spoke at the senate hearing today to discuss the treatment of fans at the UEFA Champions League Final in Paris.
Both Liverpool and Real Madrid fans experienced distress and harassment from local gangs and over-authoritative police, who resorted to using tear gas on innocent bystanders.
Ted Morris (Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association) and Joe Blott (Spirit of Shankly) were representatives of Reds fans in the French courts and demanded an apology from the French authorities.
France’s sports minister sensationally claimed that up to 70 per cent of tickets sold were fakes, and that between 30,000 and 40,000 English supporters were carrying forgeries.
The federation claimed that it had deployed 1,650 security and ticketing staff ‘in anticipation of the possible presence of people without tickets or in possession of counterfeit tickets.
The staffing numbers were also said to be ’25 per cent higher than that of a sold-out home France match’, despite the widespread security problems faced by supporters.
“There were supporters in wheelchairs forced to wait in dangerous queues for an hour.” said Morris. “One was allowed through the turnstiles but his companion was not. It was a very chaotic situation.
“Gérald Darmanin has brought shame on France and the French government. His lies made things so much worse. He should apologise or resign. His lies have reminded us of those after Hillsborough. He should be ashamed.”
Blott, chair of fan group Spirit of Shankly, echoed Morris’ sentiments, citing that the excuses made by the French government were similar to those made in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
“To hear French authorities use similar lies to those used by the British all those years ago once again in 2022, about fans arriving late, or with fake tickets, or drunk, has caused an immense amount of shock, anger and pain.
“Supporters of Liverpool and Real Madrid did not cause problems. In 2018 in Kyiv there was no violence. The difference this time is the presence of local gangs.”
Senate chairman Francois-Noel Buffet was clear that Liverpool fans are not to blame, and senators were all sympathetic – with one calling the situation ‘apocolyptic’.
The senate investigation will continue more in the coming days, with an end date yet to be publicised. It can only be seen as positive progress for Liverpool and Real Madrid fans alike.