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Liverpool chairman demands apology for French minister’s comments

LIVERPOOL Chairman Tom Werner has demanded an apology from the French sports minister after she said fans with fake tickets and the club’s handling of their supporters were responsible for the trouble that marred Saturday’s Champions League final.

The match at the Stade de France, which Real Madrid won 1-0, was delayed by more than half an hour after police tried to hold off people trying to force their way into the ground. Some fans, including children, were tear-gassed by French riot police.

On Monday, sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said that the initial problems were caused by Liverpool fans without valid tickets and accused the club of letting their supporters “out in the wild”.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin added that there had been a “massive (ticket) fraud on an industrial scale.”

Werner hit back late on Monday in a letter to Oudea-Castera, describing her comments as “irresponsible, unprofessional, and wholly disrespectful” to the fans affected.

“The UEFA Champions League final should be one of the finest spectacles in world sport, and instead it devolved into one of the worst security collapses in recent memory,” Werner was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

“On behalf of all the fans who experienced this nightmare I demand an apology from you, and assurance that the French authorities and UEFA allow an independent and transparent investigation to proceed.”

UEFA has commissioned an independent inquiry into the incident while Oudea-Castera said they would produce a report within 10 days.

In an interview to the Liverpool website, CEO Billy Hogan said they were also reviewing legal options available to them on behalf of their supporters.

Hogan said later on Tuesday that the club had received over 5,000 responses after asking affected fans to fill out a form as they sought evidence.

“I’ve spent time over the course of today reviewing some of the information and, honestly, I’m horrified by the way some men, women, children — able bodied, less able bodied — have been indiscriminately treated over the course of Saturday,” Hogan said.

“It’s also important we don’t lose sight of what happened after the match.

“We’ve all seen videos, photos, I’ve read a number of stories of absolutely horrific experiences leaving the stadium as well — crimes being committed, muggings taking place.”

Hogan said he had also asked UEFA for their matchday log to take a look at medical incidents recorded so they can reach out to those respective supporters. — Reuters

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