Paris police chief finally apologises for tear-gassing Liverpool fans at Champions League final

Paris police chief insists he’d no choice but to tear gas Liverpool fans at the Champions League final, hits out at Jurgen Klopp telling ticketless fans to travel, but finally admits he was ‘perhaps mistaken’ over claims of 40,000 fake tickets

Paris police chief has told a Senate Commission the Champions League security operation was a ‘failure’, and he had no choice other than to tear gas fans Didier Lallement appeared at a hearing today to explain what went wrongThe police chief admitted there was ‘no scientific virtue’ to the claim that up to 40,000 tickets for the game were counterfeit – it was concocted from reports 

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France’s most senior policeman today defended asphyxiating Liverpool football fans including children, saying: ‘The only way was to gas people’.

Didier Lallement, the Paris Police Prefect, made the controversial comments during a parliamentary hearing into the shocking scenes at the European Champions League Final.

Stark images showed vast clouds of tear gas smothering supporters, as riot police sprayed others in the face with pepper spray before the showpiece game against Real Madrid on May 28.

Fans were stuck outside the Stade de France for two hours  before being hit with tear gas by French police 

‘I’m fully aware that people of good faith were gassed, sometimes even families,’ Mr Lallement told the meeting at the Paris Senate.

But he added: ‘I’m sorry but there were no other means. The only way was to gas people. I asked for gas to be used.’

Lallement said that without the use of tear gas it would have been necessary for officers to charge the crowd to prevent them gaining access to the stadium.

He added: ”I think it would have been a mistake to charge people. It would have been devastating.’ 

Kick-off was delayed as the situation outside the stadium descended into mayhem as French police pepper-sprayed desperate fans as they waited to get inside. 

Riot police hold back fans at the stadium entrance, as supporters complained of a lack of open gates, staff and problems with ticketing that saw some wait for hours to get inside 

Paris police chief Didier Lallement gave evidence about the security operation for the UEFA Champions League final at a Senate hearing in the French capital today

Although Lallement owned up to ‘a failure’ that ‘shook France’s image’, there was no hint of an apology from an officer who is nicknamed ‘Le Top Cop’ in his home country.

And he also took a swipe at Liverpool for encouraging fans to travel without tickets, while returning to his ‘fanciful’ claims that thousands of fake tickets were in circulation.

Until now, there has been no apology from the French authorities who have instead claimed that the carnage was caused by ’30-40,000′ Liverpool supporters turning up with fake tickets.

And in astonishing scenes in front of an angry French Senate, Lallement admitted that figure – heavily contested by the vast majority of those present – had been concocted from reports given by his officers and transport officials.

Paris police chief Didier Lallement criticised Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, suggesting the club encouraged ‘its supporters to come en masse to Paris, even without a ticket.’

‘I was perhaps mistaken’, said Mr Lament, adding: ‘It was obviously a failure because people were jostled and attacked, although we had a duty to keep them safe. It is also a failure because the image of the country has been shaken.’

Questioned further about his claim that up to 40,000 Liverpool fans turned up without genuine tickets, he continued: ‘I never claimed that the figure was perfectly correct but it seemed to reflect the situation around the stadium.’

Before adding: ‘‘The figure has no scientific virtue but it came from feedback from police and public transport officials.’ 

But he continued to insist that there were ‘far more people’ than the stadium could contain, and that public transport figures backed this up.

He also claimed that thousands of those left outside the crowd with fake tickets were ‘not in sight of CCTV cameras’.

Lallement pleaded with fans who had bought counterfeit tickets in good faith to file criminal lawsuits to ‘help us find those responsible for this massive fraud’. ‘

Gerald Darmanin (right) said filtering out the fake tickets had caused long delays and dangerous crushes for Liverpool fans getting into the Stade de France, after sport minister Amelie Oudea-Castera (left) had blamed the club for the chaos

French officials under fire for chaos at the Champions League final in Paris claimed tens of thousands of fans had turned up with fake tickets, presenting two near-identical passes while claiming one was a forgery (right)

‘The strategic information that was lacking was the massive use of counterfeit tickets,’ said Mr Lallement.

‘It’s true, you can criticise me for that. I was not expecting such a volume of counterfeit tickets.’

It was a week ago that fans who attended the Champions League final received ‘a sincere apology’ from UEFA for the way they were treated.

Liverpool and Real Madrid supporters, as well as VIP guests and sponsors were caught up in the frightening and dangerous scenes outside the Stade de France.

Many of them could not access the stadium despite having valid tickets.

And in the ensuing chaos, before and after the UEFA showpiece, which Real Madrid won 1-0, supporters and attendees were tear-gassed by French police and forced to run the gauntlet of local youths intent on assaulting and robbing them.

UEFA has announced its own independent review into the shambolic events in Paris and a special investigation by the Mail on Sunday revealed how the complete breakdown of law and order outside the stadium before and after the final almost led to fatalities.

Shocking video footage has emerged of a nine-year-old boy crying on the streets of Paris after his father was hit with tear gas deployed by French police in the aftermath of the Champions League Final last night. Football author and Liverpool fan Carl Clemente posted the clip on Twitter showing his young son sobbing as he desperately tried to wipe the tears streaming from his eyes following the attack

The MoS investigation suggested a massive IT failure contributed to the chaos in Paris, contradicting the accounts of the French police and government, who sought to blame the scenes on Liverpool fans with counterfeit tickets.

But both Lallement and France’s Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, maintain that Liverpool fans still have to bear the brunt of the blame for the chaos because they ‘turned up with false or no tickets’.

Lallement also criticised Liverpool Football Club after manager Jurgen Klopp encouraged supporters to travel to Paris even if they did not have a ticket for the game.

‘The Liverpool club did not send the necessary information to the police headquarters concerning the movement of its supporters,’ he said. ‘Even inviting its supporters to come en masse to Paris, even without a ticket.’

In turn, Liverpool FC is demanding a full apology from the French government and the police. 

Police hold back Liverpool fans as chiefs say large numbers of people with fake tickets caused bottlenecks – but fans say faulty turnstiles were to blame

In the aftermath of the match, the French interior minister, Gerald Darmanin gave a press conference alongside the Paris police chief, who showed off what they said were near-identical fake and real tickets to prove their case.

At the time, they did not say how they had established one ticket was a fake, amid reports of people with real tickets being turned away due to malfunctioning turnstiles.

Ronan Evain, head of the Football Supporters Europe association who was at the game, quickly dismissed the claims of up to 40,000 fake tickets being in circulation as ‘completely fanciful’.

FSE observers had noticed some fake tickets being sold, he said, but described the issue as ‘marginal’ and nothing out of the ordinary for a major final.

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