Liverpool fans were kept outside the Stade de France for hours as the Champions League final kick-off was delayed (Adam Davy/PA)

‘Irresponsible, wholly disrespectful’ – Liverpool chairman demands French minister apology

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has penned a letter to French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera “out of utter disbelief” following a “series of unproven pronouncements” pertaining to the Champions League final.

The harrowing and dangerous scenes outside the Stade de France saw Liverpool fans tear-gassed by police and mismanagement of the highest order put supporters in the direct line of danger.

UEFA and French authorities immediately placed the blame on Reds, with their latest attempt at a cover-up being directed towards fake tickets. Blatant lies at every turn.

It has since been announced by UEFA that an ‘independent and comprehensive review’ will be conducted into the events to establish the facts.

And after a “blame game strategy” from minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, club chairman Tom Werner penned a stern letter to the French minister “out of utter disbelief” to demand an apology.

Here is the letter in full, as posted by the Athletic’s James Pearce:

Dear Minister,

I am writing to you today out of utter disbelief that a Minister of the French Government, a position of enormous responsibility and influence, could make a series of unproven pronouncements on a matter of such significance before a proper, formal, independent investigation process has even taken place.

The events that occurred in and around the Stade de France on Saturday night at the UEFA Champions League Final were not only incredibly dangerous for all who attended, but raised serious questions about the organization and operation of the event. This should be the focus of all interested parties today rather than pursuing a blame game strategy via press conference.

I have received countless emails from Liverpool supporters who were frightened to death, and subject to police harassment, pepper spray and tear gas. Moreover, the situation was no better at the end of the evening than at the beginning, with many fans robbed, and attacked by gangs.

It was clear that fans were forced to go through a gauntlet, spending more than 2 hours in queues. One person said they were “trapped against the gates, nobody was moving, and nobody on the other side of the gates was communicating at all.” These fans were treated like cattle.

How can loose data and unverified assertions presented this morning be anywhere near factual without a truly independent and transparent investigation with the right stakeholders including our supporters, our club and others taking place. Worse still, these assertions undermine the pursuit of truth and transparency which should underpin the motivations of any organization or individual with a desire to ensure such unacceptable scenes are never repeated.

The fact that your public position went against this objective is a concern in itself. That you did so without any recourse to ourselves or our supporters is an even greater one. All voices should count in this process, and they should count equally and fairly.

As a Club, it was already our strong feeling that any investigation should be impartial, independent, and transparent. This view has only intensified as a direct result of your public comments and the impact they have had on a narrative which runs contrary to the experiences of many. Your comments were irresponsible, unprofessional, and wholly disrespectful to the thousands of fans harmed physically and emotionally.

UEFA Champions League Final should be one of the finest spectacles in world sport, and instead it devolved into one of the worst security collapses in recent memory. On behalf of all the fans who experienced this nightmare I demand an apology from you, and assurance that the French Authorities and UEFA allow an independent and transparent investigation to proceed.


Tom Werner