PARIS — France’s sports minister has said fans without tickets caused initial crowd problems at the Champions League final in Paris, despite strong criticism of the event’s policing on Saturday.
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra blamed a “mass gathering” of supporters with “fake tickets” for the chaos at the stadium.
She also said local youths trying to force their way in made things worse.
But UK’s Culture Secretary described the police response as “deeply concerning” and has urged an inquiry.
French police have been criticized for firing pepper spray and tear gas at some Liverpool fans as they waited to get into the stadium on Saturday evening.
Police have also been accused of disorganization in the handling of the large crowds of people attempting to access the Stade de France.
The final was delayed by 35 minutes by the trouble outside the stadium, with Liverpool losing the match against Spain’s Real Madrid 1-0.
Ms Oudéa-Castéra’s comments came ahead of a meeting on Monday with the French sports ministry, Europe’s football governing body Uefa, the French Football Association, stadium officials and police to “draw lessons” from the event.
“What happened, first of all, was this mass gathering of the British supporters of the Liverpool club, without tickets, or with fake tickets,” Ms Oudéa-Castéra told French radio RTL.
But she said more people from the local area tried to force their way in through the doors of the Stade de France, where the match was held.
“A certain number of youths from the nearby area who were present tried to get in by mixing in with the crowd,” the minister said.
She also expressed regret that families and children were impacted by the use of tear gas.
The French minister said there were “no problems” regarding Real supporters and the Spanish side had controlled their travelling fans better than Liverpool.
Uefa initially blamed the “late arrival” of fans for the problems. — BBC