Liverpool CEO laments 'disgraceful' comments from French minister

By Sports Desk June 02, 2022

Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan has called comments from a French minister relating to the chaos at Saturday's Champions League final "disgraceful".

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin and sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera have repeatedly insisted that Liverpool fans were to blame for troubles outside the Stade de France that led to kick-off being delayed by 36 minutes as thousands of fans struggled to enter the stadium, with widely circulated social media footage showing supporters, including young children, being targeted with tear gas by police and placed at risk of a crush.

Speaking to the French Senate on Wednesday, Darmanin doubled down on his accusations, saying "It is clear, all the security services notes say so, that the people of Liverpool pose public order problems. Not all its supporters, but a small part of its supporters."

Both ministers claim fans with fake tickets and without tickets caused the problems, suggesting 30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans were trying to gain access to the stadium without a valid ticket, claims which have been strongly denied by fan groups and Merseyside Police.

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner demanded an apology from Oudea-Castera for her prior comments, which he labelled as "irresponsible, unprofessional, and wholly disrespectful".

UEFA announced an independent report into the events but, speaking to Liverpool's website, Hogan says a report is not enough and wants an investigation into what took place.

"My response to the French minister's comments again, as I said earlier in the week, is just one of disbelief frankly," he said. 

"Folks are probably aware that the Senate Committee meeting yesterday was three hours, so there's still quite a bit for us to unpack in all of it. But, overall, 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.

"In regard to the accusations again that the numbers – 30 to 40 thousand fans – turning up at the stadium, this is the reason why we just keep asking for an open and transparent investigation into the details.

"I said this earlier in the week, people are talking about details which haven't been shared. We haven't had the opportunity to have that open investigation. And I just don't think it's appropriate for people to be making accusations until we've got all the facts.

"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. My understanding is that Real Madrid are going to be putting some details out across their channels about this as well.

"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."

Hogan further expressed his disbelief at Darmanin's comments to the Senate Committee, calling them "disgraceful".

"I really empathise with our fans," he added. "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.

"Real Madrid have made it clear their fans suffered as well. So all I can say is I have a tremendous amount of empathy for our fans, I don't think it's fair what's being said and we're just in disbelief."

Hogan also detailed the information the club has been able to gather in recent days, making a form available for those who attended to fill in and detail their experiences in Paris.

"We have opened up the form and I just want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has contributed their experiences," he continued.

"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.

"Again, thank you to those of you who have taken the time to do that, I know it hasn't been easy."

Related items

  • 'We would like to extend his stay here' – Leicester boss Rodgers hopeful over Vardy deal 'We would like to extend his stay here' – Leicester boss Rodgers hopeful over Vardy deal

    Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Thursday that the club is working on a contract extension for 35-year-old Foxes icon Jamie Vardy.

    Vardy arrived at Leicester back in 2012 and has since racked up 164 goals in 386 appearances for the club. Only Arthur Chandler (273 goals), who played from 1923-35, and Arthur Rowley (251 goals from 1950-58) have scored more for Leicester.

    The former England striker has now registered seven consecutive Premier League seasons with at least 13 goals.

    Vardy is in the final year of his contract, but Foxes boss Rodgers is optimistic he will sign another deal.

    "[Vardy's] appetite is still there," he said. "We would like to extend his stay here and that's something the club and his representatives will look at.

    "Jamie thrives on balls into space behind the defence, and if there is no space, he thrives on low crosses into the box. It is as simple as that. If we can do that more, there will be opportunities for him and other players."

    Vardy, who missed nearly four months last season with hamstring and knee injuries, will turn 36 in January.

  • Kostic expresses gratitude to Eintracht ahead of Juventus move Kostic expresses gratitude to Eintracht ahead of Juventus move

    Filip Kostic has expressed his gratitude to Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of his move to Juventus.

    The Serbia winger is on the verge of completing his switch to Juve, ending a four-year spell with Eintracht.

    Kostic helped the Bundesliga club win the Europa League last season and has played more games (167) and started more matches (161) than any other player for the club since his arrival from Hamburg.

    The 29-year-old says Eintracht will always have a special place in his heart.

    "THANK YOU Eintracht Frankfurt for believing in me when no one else did!" he posted on Instagram.

    "I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the club, all the wonderful people who work at the club, the team-mates, the coaches, the management, the fans and the whole city for making my stay at the club and in the city unforgettable.

    "Eintracht fans, thank you for supporting us every game. We bled together for the colours of the club, you in the stands and us on the field.

    "Together we managed to write club history by winning the Europa League. Thank you for all the love and support you have given me.

    "We wouldn't have made it without you. I will carry you in my heart forever."

     

  • Arsenal defender Mari heads to Serie A new boys Monza on loan Arsenal defender Mari heads to Serie A new boys Monza on loan

    Arsenal defender Pablo Mari has joined newly promoted Serie A club Monza on loan for the duration of the 2022-23 season.

    The 28-year-old Spaniard, who joined Arsenal – initially on loan – in January 2020, made just two Premier League appearances as Mikel Arteta preferred Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of his backline last season.

    Mari spent the second half of last campaign on loan at Udinese, for whom he played 15 times, and has now returned to Italy with the Silvio Berlusconi-owned club.

    Since winning promotion via the Serie B play-offs last season, Monza have made a remarkable 19 signings, including Italy internationals Matteo Pessina, Stefano Sensi and Andrea Ranocchia.

    Monza will host the first Serie A game in their history when they face Torino on Saturday. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.