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29th May 2022

Merseyside police defend ‘exemplary’ Liverpool fans tear gassed by French police

Kieran Galpin

A police spokesperson described the experience as “the worst European match I’ve ever worked or experienced.”

UK police have spoken out following the violent clashes between French police and Liverpool fans during the Champions League final.

Last night’s Champions League final saw Real Madrid beat the Reds 1-0, but enormous queues meant some Liverpool fans were unable to enter the grounds until after the match had begun.

Chaos ensued, with fans pictured jumping turnstiles as police officers employed pepper spray.

“MERPOL was deployed to this evening’s match,” a Merseyside Police spokesperson said, who regularly deal with Liverpool fans. “Can only describe it as the worst European match I’ve ever worked or experienced.”

They added: “I thought the behaviour of the fans at the turnstiles was exemplary in shocking circumstances. You were not late 100%.”

But French police have maintained that queues formed after fans arrived without tickets.

“Exerting strong pressure to enter the enclosure, these supporters delayed access to spectators with tickets,” a Prefecture de Police spokesperson said. “Taking advantage of this action, a number of people managed to cross the gates protecting the stadium enclosure.”

Through what they described as “rapid intervention”, police were able to remove the “disturbers outside the forecourt of the Stade de France.”

“The dispersal of the spectators takes place without difficulty. No major incident was observed in the two fan zones,” they added.

The French government also blamed British fans, with Sport minister Amelie Oudea-Castera tweeting: “The attempts of intrusion and fraud by thousands of English fans have complicated the work of stewards and police forces but will not tarnish (Real Madrid’s) victory.

“Violence has no place in the stadiums.”

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois also offered his thoughts on Twitter, where he wrote: “I feel sorry for
Liverpool fans and the way they were treated. I hope everyone got home safe!”

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