Report on Champions League final policing links Hillsborough to hooliganism
'This confirms our worst suspicions that a completely false view of what happened at Hillsborough has informed a police force in another country...'
An official report into the chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France before last month's Champions League final has shockingly claimed that French authorities deployed riot police in large numbers due to wrongly associating the Hillsborough disaster with hooliganism.
Liverpool fans were teargassed and denied entry into the Stade de France for game against Real Madrid - with kick-off being delayed three times as a result. Supporters were also left stranded in long queues and were forcibly denied entry, despite many having legitimate tickets.
Since the game, Liverpool and Real Madrid have both made formal complaints about the way supporters were treated before and during the game.
French ministers have since attempted to place the blame on Liverpool supporters, claiming many attempted to enter the ground with counterfeit tickets.
Now, as highlighted by The Guardian, a 30-page report by Michel Cadot, the French sports ministry’s delegate on major sporting events, appears to claim the police's overly forceful approach to Liverpool supporters was partly informed by an inaccurate perception of the 1989 tragedy at Hillsborough.
The report mentions Hillsborough in a section discussing police intelligence before the Paris final. Although it recognises Liverpool supporters have not been known for violence at football matches, it adds: 'Reference to the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989 - 97 deaths - for which the responsibility of the [police] was pointed out, led however to the drawing up of a firm policing arrangement, to maintain order in riot gear, in order to be able to respond to a risk of collective phenomena of hooliganism and havoc, as had happened in Marseilles on 13 June 2016 during the England-Russia game.'
In 2016, an inquest concluded that those who lost their lives at Hillsborough were unlawfully killed and that fan behaviour did not contribute to the death toll or overall tragedy.
The report by Cadot acknowledges multiple failures regarding the management of the crowd ahead of the final, but maintains that a large number of Liverpool supporters attempting to enter the stadium with fake tickets was a significant factor.
The report has been heavily criticised by bereaved family members and survivors of Hillsborough. Amongst them is Margaret Aspinall, whose son James was one of the 97 to lose his life in the disaster.
"This confirms our worst suspicions that a completely false view of what happened at Hillsborough has informed a police force in another country," she said.
"It shows the power of the lies that were told by the police in this country, that are still believed and repeated by far too many people.
"Football stadiums and policing were made much safer after the disaster, and all football supporters should understand that."
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