As France faces flak for the chaotic mismanagement of the UEFA Champions League final, the country’s sports minister on Monday blamed a massive ticket fraud and unruly Liverpool fans for the fiasco outside the Stade de France in Paris.
“There were between 30,000 to 40,000 people with fake tickets or without tickets,” Amelie Oudea-Castera told RTL News’ morning show, which caused an “exceptional pressure on the security forces who had the worst difficulty controlling the flows.”
The chaotic scenes outside the stadium, with supporters breaking through security cordons, jumping over large metal gates and police firing tear gas, caused a 35-minute delay in the start of Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
The closure of the main train line to Seine-Saint-Denis, where the stadium is located, due to a workers’ strike was also another factor that exacerbated problems for fans.
Oudea-Castera, however, defended France’s record at organizing major sporting events, reiterating that the main issue was fake tickets.
“Because the tickets were fake, the metal gates remained blocked, leading to security issues and congestion which created an extraordinarily frustrating wait for people,” she explained.
She pointed out that Liverpool requested UEFA to issue paper tickets, instead of e-tickets on mobile apps that were “tamper-proof, non-transferable tickets.”