France blames 'massive' ticket fraud as policing row rages

France has hit out at what it says was "industrial-scale" ticket fraud at Saturday's Champions League final amid a row over the game's policing.

Ministers acknowledged difficulties in managing crowds at the final in Paris, but say organised fraud was the root cause of the problems.

Liverpool ticket-holders were seen waiting in huge queues, with French police later using tear gas on crowds.

The treatment of fans was "an absolute disgrace," one Liverpool fan said.

Tom Whitehurst said he had to get his disabled son "out of the way" after they were pepper-sprayed.

"[Fans] were indiscriminately pepper-sprayed and there were people with tickets, who arrived two-and-a-half hours early, who were queuing up and they were charged at by riot police with shields."

Another supporter, Michael Carter, told the BBC people further back in the queue "were lifting each other up and over the walls because they were being crushed".

The BBC's sports journalist Nick Parrott, who was in Paris, said "it was the most petrifying experience I've ever had at a football match". He tweeted that locals were "trying to force their way in leading t

Amid a chorus of criticism from the UK, the French sports ministry has been meeting Europe's football governing body Uefa, the French Football Association and stadium officials and police to "draw lessons" from the event.

Uefa has now commissioned an independent report into the events surrounding the match.

France's interior and sports ministers have been pointing blame for the chaos at fans with fake tickets and local youths trying to force their way into the stadium.

Interior minister Gérald Darmanin said "massive, industrial-scale" ticket fraud had caused Liverpool fans to turn up en masse, and said that of about 30 arrests made at the Stade de France "more than half concerned British citizens". He stated that there had been 30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool fans with fake tickets or without tickets outside the stadium.

Mr Darmanin also defended the police's actions, stating that "the decisions taken prevented deaths or serious injury".

"We regret a disorganisation in the admission of British supporters," he said.

Speaking earlier on French radio, sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said there were "no problems" regarding Real supporters and the Spanish side had controlled their travelling fans better than Liverpool.

But a spokesperson for France's independent police commissioner's union (SICP), Mathieu Valet, told the BBC's Newshour that "supporters without tickets or with fake tickets... were not the main problem."

"It's clear that we needed more police - we didn't have enough on the ground," he added.