NEWS

Probe into final ticket problems

European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, and the British Embassy in Athens said yesterday that they would look into complaints that some Liverpool fans with tickets for Wednesday night’s Champions League final at the Olympic Stadium were not allowed into the ground. Supporters from England claimed that police used tear gas to keep people back after some fans without tickets or with fake tickets stormed through security checks outside the stadium and fans with tickets were held back. It was not clear how many fans claim to have been affected. The police denied using tear gas and Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras said the match had been policed successfully. UEFA blamed the Liverpool fans for causing the confusion. «The behavior of the Liverpool fans is in the end responsible for the problems that took place before the game,» said UEFA spokes-man William Gaillard, who pointed out that AC Milan fans did not have similar problems. «More than three hours before the game, there were incidents at the Liverpool end with people trying to get in either with fake tickets or jumping over barriers.» It is obvious that at one point the police felt overwhelmed and it is much to their credit that there were no dangerous incidents,» Gaillard said. However, the British Embassy said that it would discuss the incidents with the Greek government. «Clearly there was some element of breakdown [to the security plan] where fake tickets appeared to be legitimate,» said British Ambassador Simon Gass. «That’s something for UEFA to deal with.» «The vast majority of fans with proper tickets got in but even if a small minority did not, that’s not satisfactory.» Police detained 128 fans outside the ground with forged or no tickets. Only eight, including one Englishman and a Greek, were charged with misdemeanors yesterday. Meanwhile, cleaning crews began clearing rubbish from around the stadium and central Athens yesterday morning. There were reports that up to 98 tons of beer cans had been collected for recycling.