French ministers THANK police after using tear gas on Liverpool fans in night of chaos

Liverpool v Real Madrid: Champions League final pictures

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The Champions League final game between Liverpool and Real Madrid was yesterday delayed by 37 minutes as thousands of supporters were left unable to enter the State de France. Despite UEFA’s initial claim the delay was caused by “the late arrival of fans”, Merseyside journalist Andy Kelly, who attended the game, insisted they were “queuing outside with tickets for a gate that’s been shut for no reason”.

Fury erupted when footage emerged showing Paris police using tear gas on crowds, which included children.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis this morning told Sky News that, while he didn’t want to involve himself in France’s domestic affairs, it is important “we learn the lessons and how all around the world we can police and keep people safe at big sporting events”.

But some French ministers have now come out to defend rather than criticise the police.

Sport Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera accused “thousands” of English fans of attempted “fraud”.

She wrote in a post on Twitter: “The attempts of intrusion and fraud by thousands of English fans have complicated the work of stewards and police forces but will not tarnish [Real Madrid’s] victory.

“Violence has no place in the stadiums.”

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also wrote: “Thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets or with counterfeit tickets, forced entry and sometimes assaulted the stewards.

“Thank you to the very many police forces mobilised this evening in this difficult context.”

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Merseyside Police has insisted their behaviour at the turnstiles “was exemplary in shocking circumstances”.

One supporter, Colm Lacey, said he saw “children crying, people trapped” the stadium’s entrances.

He, quoted in the Telegraph, added: “People started jumping the queue, then they ripped the gate open and then there was a push.”

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But the paper’s Chief Football Correspondent stressed the police treated fans in an “appalling” manner.

Following the match, which Real Madrid won one goal to nil, he wrote in a post on Twitter: “Just taking my seat back in the press box having witnessed hundreds of Liverpool fans being treated appallingly outside the Stade de France.

“Was caught in the [tear gas]. Eyes and mouth still stinging.”

Liverpool FC has demanded a formal investigation into the event.

It said in a statement: “We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced this evening at Stade de France.

“This is the greatest match in European football and supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight.”

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