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Leagues: UEFA Champions League

Liverpool fans’ group calls for French government apology

Liverpool (AFP) – A leading Liverpool fans’ group has called for a “full apology from the French Government” after a French senate enquiry found organisational failings were to blame for the chaos that surrounded the Champions League final.

The kick-off for the match on May 28 was delayed as supporters struggled to get through bottlenecks accessing the ground and were repelled by teargas fired by French police.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had pointed the finger of blame at Liverpool fans, claiming that up to 40,000 of them travelled to the stadium either with no tickets or fake ones.

However, a fact-finding mission led by two senators instead found the problems were caused by a “string of dysfunctions” including a lack of preparation by French authorities and poorly executed security arrangements.

For many Liverpool fans, the scenes in Paris were reminiscent of the Hillsborough disaster when 97 fans were killed by a crush ahead of their FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

Liverpool supporters group, the Spirit of Shankly, thanked the French Senate for its findings, but said it will continue to push for a full government apology and parliamentary enquiry.

“There remains the issue of lies being persistently repeated,” Spirit of Shankly said in a statement.

“We want a full apology from the French Government with a complete retraction of the lies purported on their behalf on and since 28 May 2022, and will continue to lobby to achieve it.

“We also believe only a full French Parliamentary inquiry, with witnesses testifying under oath, will bring truth and justice and will continue to lobby to achieve it.”

Earlier this week, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said lessons need to be learned from events outside the Stade de France for major finals going forward.

“Everybody needs to know about it, not because it will change anything for this game but it has to be changed for the next games, big events, wherever it will be because supporters have to be protected,” said the German coach.

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