Liverpool fans have called on French interior minister Gerald Darmanin to resign after accusing him of lying over the chaos which marred the Champions League final at the Stade de France.
Chairman of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters’ Association Ted Morris painted a harrowing picture of events outside the Paris stadium in the hours before the club’s defeat by Real Madrid as he gave evidence to the French Senate.
Morris took particular aim at Darmanin, who initially laid the blame for the frightening scenes at the feet of supporters trying to enter the stadium with fake tickets.
He said: “With my wife, we love France and Paris, but you, Mr Darmanin, you lied and I ask you to withdraw your accusation. And if you’ve the decency to do so, I hope you have the decency to resign.”
Morris was among Liverpool supporters who were tear-gassed, one a wheelchair user who was lifted over locked gates by fellow fans as she tried to escape the melee and another an eight-year-old boy with autism who became separated from his father, with whom he was later attacked after they’d been reunited.
According to Morris, it was only due to the restraint and actions shown by Liverpool fans that a “major disaster and probably a fatality” was averted.
“Disabled supporters arrived in Paris to see a festival of football. They were in the middle of a carnival of horrors, and it will leave them with long-term mental scars,” he said. “They treated disabled supporters like animals. The treatment they received will be to the eternal shame of all those in authority who were there to protect us. It was a complete dereliction of duty.”
Joe Blott, chair of the Spirit of Shankly supporters’ group, accused police of operating on pre-conceived notions dating back to the 1980’s in their handling of English supporters and insisted the use of tear gas on innocent fans was “not necessary”.
Blott also urged the authorities to learn from their mistakes ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup in France and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.