‘They saw us as human cashpoints’: Disabled Liverpool fan will tell the French Senate today how he had to flee a knife-wielding mob in his wheelchair outside the Stade de France at the Champions League final, while the police stood by and watched
- More than 9,000 Liverpool fans have now submitted testimony about abuse and mismanagment at the UEFA Champions League final in Paris on May 28
- Ted Morris, chairman of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association, will give the French Senate a harrowing personal account of how he had to flee the mob
- French authorities are investigating the appalling scenes at the Stade de France
Disabled Liverpool supporters will tell the French Senate today how they had to flee for their lives, chased by a baying mob of hundreds of yobs outside the Stade de France, after the Champions League final.
Ted Morris, chairman of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters’ Association, will tell the commission investigating the appalling scenes at the French national stadium, that he was among Liverpool fans targeted by hooligans throwing bottles and wielding knives, while the police stood by, before teargassing the traumatised supporters.
Morris, a wheelchair user since he lost the use of his legs through a medical condition seven years ago, will present nine harrowing testimonies from disabled fans, while Joe Blott, chairman of the Spirit of Shankly group, will also submit evidence of mismanagement at the final and abuse of those attending.
There was an initial attempt to solely pin the blame of the disorder last month on Reds fans
More than 9,000 Liverpool fans – half of all of those who went to the final against Real Madrid on May 28 – have now filed complaints, which are being collected by Liverpool Football Club.
‘Leaving the stadium was the worst bit,’ Morris, 58, told Sportsmail ahead of the hearing in Paris. ‘We got to the bottom of the underpass. That is where the police were. It left a 400m stretch from there to the train station. Within yards of leaving the underpass these gangs of locals started attacking us.
‘Bottles are raining down on us, they are running in with knives trying to rob anyone, it was the most terrifying thing I have ever been through in my life, especially in a wheelchair
‘You have seen nothing like it. Just gangs everywhere who seemed to see us as human cashpoints.’
Some politicians that Sportsmail had spoken to believe that Liverpool fans were scapegoated
Morris said hundreds were robbed as wave after wave of yobs attacked the helpless fans.
‘The police never left the underpass,’ he recalled. ‘Once we left the underpass there was not one police officer. Not one. Once we left there were just hundreds of these locals unchecked for a 400m stretch. It literally felt like you were running for your life. It was only by the grace of God there were no fatalities.
‘When we got to the station and thought ‘thank God for that’, and they tear gassed us.’
Morris, who left the game, which Liverpool lost to Real Madrid 1-0, on the 86th minute, said he was one of hundreds of supporters running the gauntlet, but thousands more were caught up in the horror before and after him.
He said that around 150 disabled fans from Liverpool attended the game, 38 of them in wheelchairs. Morris has an electric wheelchair and as he picked his way across no man’s land without police protection, the power warning lights came on and he was terrified he may be stranded.
The scenes he witnessed will stay with him for the rest of his life. Morris said the image of a seven-year-old girl in her full Liverpool kit clinging to her father, eyes streaming from tear gas is an image he cannot forget.
He will present testimonies today from a family separated in the carnage from their eight-year-old autistic son and a blind man caught in the chaos and tear gas after he had lost his guide.
‘To be in a wheelchair with a baying mob attacking you or a disabled child separated from your parents… that can’t be allowed to happen.’
France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin admitted mistakes were made by the authorities
Once Morris and other fans made it to the safety of the station, he said they were rocked by two blasts and a wave of tear gas swept through the building.
‘We got on the train back to Gare du Nord,’ he recalls. ‘No one was saying a word. Eyes were streaming. People were in a state of shock. It felt like we had just come out of a war zone. What made it worse was the people that we thought were going to protect us, teargassed us. They need to explain to us why they did that.
However, Morris and Blott are grateful to the French authorities for allowing them to speak at the Senate and address the ‘false narratives’ pedalled in the aftermath of the final, in which it was claimed 30-40,000 Liverpool supporters descended on the stadium with counterfeit tickets. That claim has now been exposed as groundless.
Didier Lallement, head of Paris police, conceded he made a mistake over his fake ticket claim
‘This commission seems really, really fair,’ added Morris. ‘It seems to go where the truth goes and you can’t ask for any more than that. Credit where credit is due.
‘We just want some accountability, an apology and from my point of view to ensure no disabled supporters are ever placed in harm’s way like that.
‘We need someone to take accountability for this. Someone needs to hold their hands up and say this is wrong.’
Interior minister Gerald Darmanin, who initially perpetuated the claims over false tickets has since admitted that mistakes were made by those responsible for the running of the event and said he ‘deplores the errors’ which led to the chaos.
French authorities blocked attempts to portray an accurate picture of the causes of the chaos
There has been widespread outrage at the treatment of supporters for the match Countless accounts have laid bare crippling congestion issues, poor organisation and assaults and robberies from local gangs as fans left the stadium.
The head of Paris police, Didier Lallement, has conceded his claim that up to 40,000 Liverpool supporters looked to get into the ground with fake tickets was incorrect.
However, during his own testimony, Lallement attempted to defend the use of tear gas.
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