Liverpool fans were scapegoated for safety issues at the 2022 Champions League final to ‘divert attention’ away from the failings of the authorities, according to a French government report.
Supporters who attended the showpiece event encountered a litany of problems, including dangerous crushes en route to the Stade de France, tear gas and assaults after the game.
In the immediate aftermath of the final both UEFA and the French authorities attempted to blame Liverpool fans for the issues they experienced – a line which has since been rubbished by first-person testimony.
We now have a concrete admission that those in charge of keeping spectators safe were responsible for the trouble, with a report by the French Senate published on Wednesday.
“It is unfair to have wanted to make supporters of the Liverpool team bear the responsibility for the disturbances that occurred, as the Minister of the Interior did to divert attention from the inability of the state to adequately manage the crowds present and to curb the action of several hundred violent and co-ordinated offenders,” it read.
Laurent Lafon, co-chairman of the report, revealed that he hoped the authorities learned from the failings and could avoid similar problems in the future.
“The gravity of what happened at the Stade de France shows that there are many decisions to be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again at the Rugby World Cup or the Olympic Games,” he said.
“It is unfair to have sought to blame Liverpool supporters for the disturbances as the minister of the interior [Gérald Darmanin] has done to deflect attention from the state’s inability to adequately manage the crowd.
“There was a need to communicate clearly about transporting the fans from the train station between the chief of police, the French Football Federation, and the train operators but this didn’t happen.
“We recommend communicating with football supporters more and improving the attractiveness of the area around the Stade de France so that people are willing to arrive early.
“We want the authorities’ view of football supporters to change, that is a strong recommendation that we are making.”