Macron 'sad and sorry' after Champions League final chaos

Fans shows tickets in front of the Stade de France prior the Champions League final soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid, in Saint Denis near Paris, Saturday, May 28, 2022. (Christophe Ena/AP)

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron and government members said they are “sad and sorry” for 2,700 Liverpool fans who had a ticket but couldn't get into the stadium amid disorder and chaos at the Champions League final in Paris, where Liverpool lost to Real Madrid 1-0.

The issue has been discussed at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Elysee presidential palace on Wednesday, French government spokesperson Olivia Grégoire said.

“Could we have done things better or could it have been better handled? Yes,” she told reporters. “Can we improve things, especially in view of the future sports events? Certainly.”

Saturday’s events prompted concerns in France and abroad as the country is set to host the Rugby World Cup next year and the 2024 Olympics.

Liverpool fans’ leadership groups complained about heavy-handed policing and poor organization on a troubling night that saw children and elderly people among those getting sprayed by tear gas.

The French Football Federation (FFF) said in a statement that 35,000 people without tickets or with “fake” tickets made their way to the Stade de France. They created disorder by blocking access to the stadium and preventing fans who had real tickets from getting into the stadium, the statement said.

European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, has also started to gather evidence about issues outside the Stade de France that marred one of the world’s biggest games in sports.

Grégoire expressed sympathy for 2,700 Liverpool fans, “fathers, mothers with their children disgusted they couldn’t attend a sports event they were waiting for. The President of the Republic and all the government were sad and sorry for these people.”

Grégoire said that interior and sports ministers will provide further details as they answer questions at a Senate’s commission on Wednesday afternoon.

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