Liverpool blast ‘disgraceful’ French minister comments and question UEFA independent report into Champions League final chaos

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Liverpool have written to UEFA asking for clarification on the proposed investigation into the chaos at the Champions League final – as CEO Billy Hogan blasted “disgraceful” comments from French interior minister Gerald Darmanin continuing to blame supporters for the trouble.

The Reds have now received more than 6,500 accounts from fans who were caught up in the events at the Stade de France before, during and after Saturday evening’s game in Paris, which Liverpool lost 1-0.

Despite an overwhelming weight of evidence to the contrary, Darmanin and sport minister Amelie Oudea-Castera maintained Reds fans were to blame when the pair appeared in front of the French senate on Wednesday afternoon.

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On Monday, Liverpool chairman Tom Werner wrote to UEFA requesting an independent investigation with the governing body having commissioned an independent report chaired by Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues from Portugal.

And in his latest update to supporters on Thursday, Hogan said: “We at Liverpool have been calling for an investigation into what happened in Paris on Saturday, not a report. I think those are two very different things.

“We’ve written to UEFA again today and we’ve raised specific questions – 13 specific questions – that we’d like them to clarify around the details of this investigation. We need clarity around what those points we are asking, the questions we’ve asked, to fully understand the proposed process.

“We just feel it’s incredibly important that we get this investigation going, frankly that we get it launched immediately and that there are clear specifics around the process and how it’s going to work. We want an open and transparent investigation, not a report, into what happened and we are focused on that objective.”

Darmanin’s claims there was only trouble “in front of the Liverpool turnstiles” and that 30,000 ticketless fans attempted to get into the ground have been strongly contested by those who were present, with Real Madrid fans also reporting major issues at their end of the stadium. Liverpool have been in talks with Real over the concerns over the matchday operation with the Spanish side also keen for UEFA’s report to be “an independent and open investigation”.

Hogan added: “I really empathise with our fans. Nobody should go through what they have gone through on Saturday. I mentioned this earlier in the week – both accessing the stadium as well as leaving the stadium, it was an absolute disgrace. The pain, the grief, the harm, the hurt that they suffered on Saturday, and now to be told by a French minister that only Liverpool fans have been a problem, it’s just disgraceful.

“My response to the French minister’s comments again, as I said earlier in the week, is just one of disbelief frankly. Given the body of evidence through video, photographs, personal experiences – and this is not just from Liverpool fans but from all fans that attended the match, media, English politicians, folks who travelled from literally all corners of the world to be at this match – which people have seen now across social media and other media channels, it’s just utter disbelief.

“And with regard to the fact that this is only Liverpool fans, I spoke to my counterpart at Real Madrid yesterday, who made it clear that their fans also had issues. They had major concerns with the matchday operation, including the policing operation around the match. We spoke for a while about this yesterday, I know they’re equally concerned about making sure this, again, is an independent and open investigation.”

Since the final, Liverpool have invited supporters to share their experiences in order to support any investigation into the operational management of the event.

“We now have over 6,500 individuals who have gone through the pain of reliving that experience and putting it down in writing, as well as quite a number of photographs that have been submitted as well,” said Hogan. “Again, thank you to those of you who have taken the time to do that, I know it hasn’t been easy.

“I would appeal to anybody who has started the form and not yet completed it to please do so, and make sure you get the chance to tell us the story.”

Liverpool are also working with a number of expert mental health organisations to offer support for affected supporters, more details of which can be found by visiting the club’s official website.

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