Liverpool chairman demands apology from Sports Minister

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has sent a letter to Amelie Oudea-Castera, France’s sports minister, asking her to apologize after the chaos at the Stade de France ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final.

Liverpool cannot digest access to the Stade de France for Saturday’s Champions League final. The club is even less accepting of communications from the French government and police headquarters blaming the Reds for three days. So club president Tom Werner sent a letter to Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the French sports minister, asking him to apologize.

The leader criticized the new minister’s speech on RTL on Monday, in which she almost exclusively blames her club for the chaos, which she says “left its supporters in the wild”. Comments made later in the day during a press conference with Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, after a meeting to determine the reasons for this chaos with many actors involved (UEFA, FFF, etc.).

Darmanin once again blamed England fans for inciting “massive industrial fraud involving counterfeit tickets” by maintaining the figure “from 30,000 to 40,000 supporters” with no tickets or with counterfeit tickets near the stadium. A count that is widely questioned by many observers. He even attacked the Reds’ obligations, while blaming coach Jurgen Klopp for inviting fans, even those without tickets, to go to France. An astonishing announcement according to the Liverpool boss, hereby the contents of the letter to Oudéa-Castéra.

“Your comments were irresponsible, unprofessional and totally disrespectful”

“Dear minister,

I am writing to you today because I do not believe at all that a French minister, in a position of enormous responsibility and influence, could make a series of unproven statements on a matter of such importance, even before a proper, formal and independent investigation process started has taken place.

The events that took place in and around the Stade de France on Saturday night during the UEFA Champions League final were not only incredibly dangerous for everyone involved, but also raised serious questions about the organization and functioning of the event. That should be the focus of all interested parties today rather than pursuing a debt strategy through a press conference.

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

Obviously fans were forced through a bottleneck and queued for over 2 hours. One person said they were “stuck against the doors, nobody moved and nobody communicated on the other side of the doors”. These fans were treated like cattle.

How can lost data and unverified claims presented this morning be close to the facts without a truly independent and transparent investigation with the appropriate stakeholders including our supporters, our club and others. Worse, these claims undermine the quest for truth and transparency that should support the motivations of any organization or individual that wants to ensure that such unacceptable scenes never happen again.

That your public position conflicts with this goal is a concern in itself. That you did that without any intervention from us or our supporters is even more important. All votes must count in this process, and they must count equally and fairly.

As a club, we were already convinced that every investigation had to be impartial, independent and transparent. This stance has only intensified as a direct result of your public comments and the impact they have had on a story that goes against the experiences of many. Your comments were irresponsible, unprofessional and completely disrespectful to the thousands of physically and emotionally hurt fans.

The UEFA Champions League final is expected to be one of the greatest spectacles in world sport, and instead turned into one of the worst security disasters in recent history. On behalf of all the fans who have experienced this nightmare, I apologize and assure you that the French authorities and UEFA will allow an independent and transparent investigation to continue.”