The culture secretary of the United Kingdom has urged UEFA to formally investigate the “deeply concerning” scenes that delayed the start of the Champions League final.
French police have been chastised for using tear gas and pepper spray on Liverpool fans as they waited to enter the stadium in Paris on Saturday.
Everyone, according to Nadine Dorries, should “learn lessons.”
UEFA, the governing body of European football, has stated that it will “urgently review these matters.”
On Monday, the French sports ministry will meet with UEFA, the French Football Association, stadium officials, and police to “draw lessons” from the event.
Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, appeared to blame British fans, tweeting on Saturday that thousands were without proper tickets and had forced entry and that some had assaulted stewards.
The game at the Stade de France was delayed by 36 minutes due to “late arrival” of fans, according to UEFA.
However, many Liverpool fans reported long lines in the hours leading up to the game, as well as heavy-handed police response to the crowding.
UEFA later attributed the delay to “security reasons,” claiming that the turnstiles at the Liverpool end had become “blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets that did not work.”
In the final, Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 1-0.
After they were pepper-sprayed, Tom Whitehurst stated that he had to get his disabled son “out of the way.”
“The way UEFA and the police treated supporters was a disgrace,” he said.
“[Fans] were pepper-sprayed indiscriminately, and there were people with tickets who arrived two and a half hours early, queuing up, and they were charged at by riot police with shields.”
Merseyside Police said its officers in Paris who attended the game “reported the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving at turnstiles early and queuing as directed.”
Police in Paris said they made 105 arrests during the game, with 39 people still being held.
According to Liverpool fan Michael Carter, families and children were among those pepper sprayed, with no explanation from officials.
“We’re throwing water on the kids to get the spray off of them, running to a bar to get glasses of water… and then we put it on ourselves because we couldn’t breathe,” he explained.
People were lifting each other over the walls as they were crushed, he said elsewhere.
“The atmosphere just turned – all of our lads were like ‘I don’t care about the result’ – we just felt unsafe,” he said near the stadium’s entrance.
“I was afraid I wouldn’t even make it into the game,” he admitted.
Liverpool FC has also called for an investigation into the incident and has asked fans to contact them directly with their stories.
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said after the game that he had given a ticket to a friend who was then denied entry.
He stated that his friend “was told it was a forgery, which I assure you it wasn’t.”
“It was a complete shambles.”
Meanwhile, Suzanne, from Liverpool, described her game experience as “really traumatic.”
“The way this event was policed was completely wrong and incredibly dangerous,” she said, describing being directed through an underpass into a “complete bottleneck.”
Her sister was searched eight times, but when they arrived two hours before kickoff, she reported that the Liverpool side was empty.
“We didn’t feel safe,” she and her sister said as they left just before full time.
We ran all the way to the station because there was tear gas everywhere, your throat hurt, and your eyes hurt.”
Several witnesses, including Suzanne and former Liverpool defender Jim Beglin, claimed that locals were mugging fans as they exited the stadium.
“The footage and accounts from Liverpool fans and the media on their entry to the Stade de France last night are deeply concerning,” Ms Dorries, who runs the government department in charge of UK sport, said.
“Thousands of ticket holders arrived in Paris on time to cheer on their team in the biggest game of the season.”
“I urge UEFA to conduct a formal investigation into what happened and why, in collaboration with stadium staff, the French Police, the Federation Francaise de Football, Merseyside Police, and Liverpool Football Club.”