Fake tickets, arrests, forced filtering… Scenes of chaos during the Champions League final in Paris

The golden match of European football tarnished by counterfeit tickets? The Champions League final, won on Saturday by Real Madrid (1-0), was marked by scenes of chaos around the Stade de France due to thousands of spectators with counterfeit tickets, according to UEFA. It is a rare decision, if not unprecedented, in the history of the prestigious Champions League: the kick-off of the most important match of the year, watched around the world, was delayed by more than thirty minutes .

In the greatest confusion, the players of Real Madrid and Liverpool had to return to the locker rooms when kick-off was scheduled for 9 p.m., while spectators and journalists wondered about the reasons for the delay.

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Sun, beer and passion… “Reds” and Madrid residents in Paris for the Champions League final

Outside the stadium, long queues, thousands of spectators shouting their anger and others trying to climb the gates surrounding the enclosure, and for some managing to enter without a ticket. And finally, the intervention of the police who had to use tear gas to disperse hundreds of supporters.

It took a few minutes before the final whistle to understand the reasons for this chaos, via a press release from UEFA. “As the kick-off approached, the turnstiles (to enter the Stade de France) on the side of the stands reserved for Liverpool were blocked by thousands of spectators who bought fake tickets which did not work”explained the European body.

An investigation requested by Liverpool

“This created a backlog of spectators trying to get into the stadium and as a result kick-off had to be delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many spectators with valid tickets to enter the stadium as possible.”continues the press release.

“As the number of people outside the stadium continued to increase after kick-off, the police had to use tear gas to disperse them”explained UEFA, which specified that it would proceed “urgently” to an audit of what happened with the police and the French authorities, as well as with the French Football Federation (FFF).

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For its part, the Liverpool club has requested the opening of an investigation. “We are extremely disappointed with the access issues and breaches of the security perimeter that Liverpool supporters have suffered”explained the English club in a press release. “It’s the biggest game in European football and the fans shouldn’t have to go through the kind of scene we saw on (Saturday) night. We have formally requested an investigation to determine the causes of these unacceptable issues.”he regretted.

“Jostling, crowd movements”

The 2022 Champions League final was originally scheduled to take place in Saint Petersburg, before its organization was withdrawn to the city following the invasion of Ukraine. Paris therefore had to manage the influx of 60,000 Liverpool supporters in particular, while a quota of 20,000 tickets was allocated to supporters of “Reds”like those of Real.

A police source told AFP that the French authorities had from the start warned of the difficulty of managing several thousand supporters without tickets. “There were jostling, crowd movements, we provided answers in terms of security […] We have reinforced security inside the stadium.underlines this source.

Another police source estimated for his part that it was “a bit easy” to criticize the police, while the latter pointed out from the start the difficulty of channeling so many supporters without a ticket.

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The Paris police headquarters confirmed in a press release that before the meeting “many supporters without tickets for the match or holders of counterfeit tickets disrupted access to the Stade de France, at the level of the external security perimeter”.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin pointed out in a tweet the attitude “thousands of British supporters without tickets or with fake tickets who forced entry” of the Stade de France.

A total of 68 people were arrested and 39 taken into custody, the Interior Ministry said.

A general “good physiognomy” of the evening

But the evacuation of the two “fan zones” distinct – for Real Madrid supporters in Saint-Denis and for those of Liverpool in the east of Paris – took place without major incidents, added the prefecture on Twitter, referring to these gatherings as a “good physiognomy” general of the evening.

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A secure perimeter with giant screens, drinks and entertainment had been organized by the prefecture on the Cours de Vincennes to welcome the 40,000 English supporters of the “Reds” not with ticket.

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Despite the defeat, the evacuation of this high-risk perimeter took place without incident, noted an AFP journalist.

The Paris fire brigade for its part mentioned “a rather quiet evening” in terms of support. In all, 238 people were taken care of by the various emergency services at one time of the day, for “relative emergencies”ranging from drunkenness to small accidents, including tear gas poisoning, a spokesman for the Paris fire department told AFP.

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