The Paris police chief said on Thursday that he may have been wrong when he said that as many as 40,000 Liverpool fans had tried to enter the Champions League final with fake tickets and that there was no scientific evidence to support the claim.
Didier Lallmann added during a hearing in the French Senate that the police’s actions around the Liverpool-Real Madrid match at the Stade de France were “failed” because the fans were damaged and France’s image was destroyed.
The final, which Liverpool lost 1-0, was postponed for more than 30 minutes after people trying to enter the ground were forcefully stopped by police officers. Riot police sprayed tear gas at fans, including women and children.
France’s interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, said that much of the blame lay with Liverpool fans and that between 30,000 and 40,000 had arrived without valid tickets, leading to the masses of fans at the stadium and people trying to force their way in. by President Emmanuel Macron.
Darmanin’s version of events was challenged by the Liverpool fans who attended and said that the vast majority of their fans were well-behaved but that the French riot police treated them in a harsh manner.
“I may be wrong about the number 30,000 to 40,000 [fans with fake tickets] was given to [interior] A minister,” said Lalllement. “From an operational point of view, it doesn’t change anything if it’s about 40,000 or 30,000 or 20,000.”
French senators pushed Lallement to explain the empirical evidence behind the number for the fake tickets, which he said came from reports from police officials on the ground. He added, “I am the one who gave this number to the minister, and I fully support him.”
During the parliamentary hearing, Lalminet said he was solely responsible for police action during the crowd disturbances around the Stade de France.
“We made sure that the match was held, and most importantly, that there were no serious injuries and no deaths,” Lallment said.
He said his only option to make sure people weren’t crushed was to use tear gas. “It’s the only way to get the masses to back off except to charge them, and I think it was a huge mistake to charge people,” Lalmente said. “I am well aware that people of good will were gassed, and I am deeply sorry for that, but I repeat, there was no other way.”
The evening, he said, was “a clear failure, because people have been pushed or assaulted while we owe them safety,” and added, “It is also a failure because the image of our country… is shattered.”
Several fans complained of being robbed after the match when they left the stadium. According to Lalllement, 300 to 400 individuals were involved in the theft and damage.
Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, who attended the final, during which he said he was robbed, is due to testify before senators later on Thursday.