Disabled Liverpool fan will French Senate how he fled knife-wielding mob in his wheelchair
Disabled Liverpool supporters will tell the French Senate today how they had to flee for their lives, chased by a barking mob of hundreds of youngsters outside the Stade de France after the Champions League final.
Ted Morris, chairman of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters’ Association, will tell the committee investigating the horrific scenes at the French national stadium that he was one of the Liverpool fans targeted by hooligans throwing bottles and wielding knives , while the police stood by, before collecting tear gas. traumatized supporters.
Morris, a wheelchair user since losing the use of his legs to a medical condition seven years ago, will give nine harrowing testimonials from disabled fans, while Joe Blott, chairman of the Spirit of Shankly group, will also provide evidence of mismanagement at the final and abuse of those present.
There was a first attempt to blame the disorder on Reds fans only last month
More than 9,000 Liverpool fans – half of all 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,” Morris, 58, told Sportsmail ahead of the Paris hearing. “We’ve come under the underpass. There was the police. It left a stretch of 400 meters from there to the train station. Within meters of exiting the underpass, these mobs of locals started attacking us.
“Bottles rain down on us, they run in with knives to rob someone, it was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced in my life, especially in a wheelchair
‘You’ve never seen anything like it. Just gangs everywhere that seemed to see us as human ATMs.’
Some politicians who sports post had spoken to believe that Liverpool fans were the scapegoat
Morris said hundreds were robbed as wave after wave of yobs attacked the helpless fans.
“The police never left the underpass,” he recalls. “When we left the underpass, there wasn’t a single police officer there. Not one. Once we left there were only hundreds of these locals unchecked for a 400m stretch. It literally felt like you were running for your life. Only by the grace of God were there no fatalities.
“When we got to the station and thought, ‘Thank God for that,’ and they tear gas cannons at us.”
Morris, who left the game, which Liverpool lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, in the 86th minute, said he was one of hundreds of supporters who picked up the gauntlet but thousands more were caught up in the horror before and after him.
He said about 150 disabled fans from Liverpool attended the match, 38 of whom were in wheelchairs. Morris has an electric wheelchair and as he made his way through no man’s land without police protection, the electric warning lights came on and he was terrified he would 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 can’t forget.
He will today testify to a family separated in the massacre of their eight-year-old autistic son and a blind man caught in the chaos and tear gas after losing his guide.
“To be in a wheelchair with a barking mob attacking you or a handicapped child separated from your parents… that shouldn’t happen.”
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin admitted mistakes were made by the authorities
When Morris and other fans reached the safety of the station, he said they were startled by two explosions and a wave of tear gas raged through the building.
“We got on the train back to Gare du Nord,” he recalls. “No one said a word. Eyes flowed. People were in shock. It felt like we just came out of a war zone. What made it worse were the people we thought would protect us, giving us tear gas. They have to explain to us why they did that.
However, Morris and Blott are grateful to the French authorities for allowing them to speak in the Senate and address the “false stories” that were kicked in the aftermath of the final, which claimed 30-40,000 Liverpool players supporters entered the stadium with forged tickets. That claim has now been proven unfounded.
Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement admitted he made a mistake over his false ticket claim
“This committee seems very, very fair,” Morris added. “It seems to go where the truth goes and that’s all you can ask for. Credit where credit is due.
“We just want some responsibility, an apology and from my point of view to make sure that disabled supporters are never put at such risk.
“We need someone to take responsibility for this. Someone needs to raise their hands and say this isn’t right.”
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who initially perpetuated the false ticket claims, has since admitted mistakes were made by those responsible for running the event and said he “regrets the mistakes” that led to the chaos. .
French authorities blocked attempts to paint an accurate picture of the causes of the chaos
There is widespread outrage over the treatment of supporters before the match. Numerous accounts have exposed crippling congestion issues, poor organization and attacks and robberies by local gangs as fans left the stadium.
Paris police chief Didier Lallement has admitted his claim that up to 40,000 Liverpool supporters wanted to go into the ground with fake tickets was false.
However, during his own testimony, Lallement tried to defend the use of tear gas.