Liverpool Mayor demands apology from French government as Reds fans declared not at fault for Paris chaos
A French Senate inquiry said Liverpool fans were not to blame for chaotic scenes at the Champions League Final in Paris.
Steve Rotheram speaks via video link to the French Senate
After the report by the French Senate deemed that it was unfair of the authorities to have “sought to blame Liverpool supporters” at the European Cup final in May, leaders from across the region have had their say.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, who was at the game and targeted by thieves, told a meeting of the Liverpool City Region combined authority overview and scrutiny committee that there had been a “concerted attempt to smear fans” that could have caused “greater reputational damage if the lies went unchallenged”.
Mayor Rotheram, who gave evidence to French senators, said authorities must ensure the safety of fans at all times and criticised UEFA, and said it was a pity European football’s governing body “didn’t show the same calibre of leadership” as shown by representatives and fans across the region.
He also singled out UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin for criticism, saying he had not received an adequate response to the queries he sent to their Swiss HQ.
On Twitter, Mayor Rotheram said: “The findings of @Senat have to mark a departure the French government’s “non je ne regrette rien” attitude to the CL final that would make Edith Piaf blush.
“Next steps should be clear: Formal apology to fans. Full parliamentary inquiry into what happened.”
Ian Byrne, MP for Liverpool West Derby, said on Twitter the truth was the issue were “caused by a series of mistakes ‘at every level’ by the French authorities, who ‘unfairly’ blamed Liverpool fans and fake tickets for the chaos.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson added that there had been “sinister echoes of Hillsborough” in Paris.
Calls were made by Liverpool Wavertree MP Paula Barker for a French parliamentary inquiry into how the fiasco occurred. She said: “The French senate confirms what the fans already knew – the fans were not responsible for the dangerous chaos at the CL final in Paris.
“The French Govt should apologise immediately and agree to a Parliamentary inquiry to hold those responsible to account.”
The official French parliamentary report said French authorities had “stereotyped” Liverpool FC fans.
The report found supporters had been “misunderstood” and “identified as hooligans, throwing them back to the stereotypes of the 1980s”.
This was an attempt to deflect attention from French police failings, according to Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool Walton.
He said: “Liverpool supporters have been vindicated by the findings of a French inquiry into the chaos at the Champions League final in Paris. As we all knew, fans were unfairly blamed to deflect attention from a catalogue of administrative errors and failings.”
Mr Carden added that the fans deserved an apology from the French authorities and UEFA, and “steps must be taken to guarantee that their appalling treatment will never be repeated.” Calls for an apology have been echoed by Labour leader Keir Starmer.
He tweeted: “Every football supporter should be safe when they go to games. I’m glad the French Senate report clearly removes any question of blame on Liverpool supporters.
“But the French Government must also accept these findings and offer a full apology.”
Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South and Reds fan, was fulsome in her praise for the supporters who went to the Stade de France.
She said: Liverpool fans were heroes, actually. So many people acted to take care of each other in a very stressful situation. Now we need a full apology from the French authorities, and a proper inquiry.
“Policing by consent matters. Not just for football fans but for everyone, everywhere.”