A Typical French Farce
The actions of the French authorities and specifically the Police at last nights ECL Final was completely unacceptable. Why on Earth is there a need to use tear gas on a perfectly well behaved queue of Liverpool fans? It just doesn’t make sense. My concern though goes significantly deeper; I have no doubt that the English fans will carry the full blame for this disgraceful overreaction, whilst UEFA blindly support the French.
Let’s consider the facts in this situation: the French claim the Liverpool fans were late arriving - but some had been queueing for hours, the turnstiles had been closed; how could they gain entry. The authorities claim the tickets were counterfeit - hundreds of fans can prove their tickets were completely genuine. The Police found it necessary to utilise tear gas to “control” a completely orderly crowd, including children and old people - how can they possibly justify this crowd control action; the crowd was already under control. Most worryingly, whilst the English fans couldn’t gain entry, all the Real Madrid fans successfully entered the ground. For clarity, I lay no blame at the feet of the Spanish fans; they are true football fans supporting a magnificent team. My concern is what happened to create the conditions which denied the Liverpool fans the same courtesy?
My personal view as to the cause of this farcical situation is poor preparation at the stadium, the late move of the game to Paris is no excuse; if they weren’t ready the Authorities should have declared their position. This is compounded by the French Police’s famous capacity for overreaction which, as demonstrated, is entirely justified. It is also highly likely that the reputation of English fans was an easy excuse for French Police to hide behind; reacting to violent disorder is one thing, but simply attacking fans because of their reputation is simply outrageous. There was no trigger for the Police to react as they did.
I had reservations about the location of the Final immediately it was announced, and for exactly the reasons that have unfolded. Sadly, I have little or no faith in the European Football authorities investigation that will follow; my belief is that English football will be tainted yet again by a whitewash where the unacceptable, unprofessional, and overly-aggressive reaction of the French Police is completely overlooked. That is just not right.
I add my congratulations to the mighty Real Madrid on an amazing victory; as we all know a truly great team finds a way to win even when playing badly. Real Madrid demonstrated this superbly last night. Well done to them.