Dozens held during Champions League final chaos

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Dozens held during Champions League final chaos

Following the chaotic scenes outside the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris, French police on Sunday said that some 68 people had been arrested, reported DW, quoting news agencies AFP and Reuters.

Liverpool FC and eyewitnesses have challenged claims from French authorities that British fans were to blame. Kick-off had to be delayed by half an hour, as police fired tear gas outside the stadium.

French authorities, including Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, squarely placed the blame on supporters of English club Liverpool after organizers said that some people had tried to get into the stadium without tickets.

However, organizers have been criticized for creating a bottleneck for ticket checking and employing a heavy-handed response which saw police firing tear gas at Liverpool fans, including children.

The chaos meant that the start of the game, which Real Madrid went on to win 1-0, had to be delayed by 35 minutes.

French authorities blame British fans

UEFA issued a statement late on Saturday saying that: "In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles."

French authorities were more direct with their accusations.

"Thousands of British 'supporters,' without any ticket or with fake ones have forced their way in and, at times, used violence again stadium staff," Darmanin wrote on Twitter.

His sentiments were shared by French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, who wrote: "The attempts at intrusion and fraud by thousands of English supporters complicated the work of the stadium staff and police but will not tarnish this victory."

However, Liverpool Football Club challenged the course of events in a statement saying: "We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced."

"We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues," the club said.

'Inadequate' organization

DW journalist Matt Pearson was in Paris to cover the match and witnessed the chaos unfolding at the stadium, highlighting the lack of adequate organization.

Pearson noted that there were just six stewards checking tickets for the thousands of Liverpool fans leading to some fans who did have tickets waiting for two to three hours to get in.

Liverpool's captain Andy Robertson told the BBC that a friend of his was denied entry with a ticket Roberston had given him via the club, saying he was "told that it was a fake which I assure you it wasn't."

Other reports pointed out that the television footage of commotion showed that the young men trying to jump the gates to get in were not wearing Liverpool shirts.

The chaotic scenes in Paris were reminiscent of the problems at the Euro 2020 final in Wembley last year where scores of people tried to push into the stadium without tickets.

Paris is set to host the Olympics in 2024. Saturday's final had been seen as a crash course for managing security at a large sporting event.

Dozens held during Champions League final chaos

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