In the immediate aftermath of the chaos at the Champions League final at Paris’ Stade de France, authorities sought to blame travelling Liverpool fans and forged tickets that led to a situation that risked a human crush and saw French police teargas families, the elderly, and disabled fans who had made their way to Paris for UEFA’s showpiece final.
With journalists on the ground and masses of fan-recorded footage telling a very different story, though—one of generally well behaved fans forced through bottlenecks that caused dangerous overcrowding, legitimate tickets flagged as forgeries, closed access points, and unprovoked attacks on supporters by police and local gangs—those official attempts to blame the fans received heavy pushback.
Now, thanks in part to the efforts of the fans French officials like interior minister Gerald Darmanin sought to blame for the fiasco, the first official report on the matter has rejected early suggestions supporters were at fault for the chaos at the Stade de France and instead blamed poor organisation and overly aggressive policing.
“It is unfair to have wanted to make supporters of the Liverpool team bear the responsibility for 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,” reads the French Senate’s provisional report.
“The systems put in place had major shortcomings with regard to the intelligence (absence of hooligans but presence of delinquents in large numbers), the transport routes for supporters (removal of a drop-off route at the surroundings of the stadium), and insufficient communication.”
Further countering early claims by Darminin and French sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra that upwards of 40,000 fans had tried to access the stadium using counterfeit tickets, the official report says that number stands at 2,471, with 1,644 of the fake tickets flagged at the southern access points Liverpool fans were directed to use.
Further, with reports that some individuals that tickets handed out by the club and organisers were flagged as counterfeit, the provisional report also criticises UEFA for failures of the ticketing system and for the use of stewards who were not given sufficient training and as a result failed to react appropriately to the escalating situation.