UEFA's William Gaillard has been branded a "clown" by new
Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks over his anti-British comments and his attack on
Liverpool FC yesterday. Gaillard said, amongst other defamatory and
contradictory statements: "The incidents involving Liverpool fans have been
well known to us before the trouble at the Champions League final which
involved Liverpool fans last week. That
was just the latest example. What other set of fans steal tickets from their
fellow supporters or out of the hands of children? It is for sure more of a
British problem because every year when there is a British club usually the
problem is there."
Tom Hicks wasn't happy. No doubt having spent much of his
life having to battle with bureaucrats to enable him to make progress with
various business interests, Hicks recognised exactly what the UEFA mouthpiece
was all about. Straight to the point, he said: "I thought the guy from UEFA was
a clown for saying that."
Speaking to Sky Sports, the wealthy Texan said: "UEFA did
not handle this right at all. To give 17,000 tickets to the two teams,
particularly knowing Liverpool is going to bring 40,000 fans is insane."
Summing Gaillard up, Hicks said: "I think it is a classic case of a bureaucrat
trying to take pressure off himself."
Of course Gaillard is just the spokesman, the one who has to
try and defend the idiotic actions of a few members of the UEFA organisation
who don't seem capable of using any common sense in terms of organising the
biggest game in their calendar. Hicks went on: "They didn't handle it right;
they didn't have proper ticketing procedures."
Liverpool had warned UEFA in advance that they had received
intelligence of their being at least 5,000 forgeries in circulation, and UEFA
did nothing at all to deal with this. As a result, and also through some fans
getting in without having tickets checked at all, many fans with genuine
tickets were locked out and attacked with teargas: "Unfortunately there were
counterfeit tickets and unfortunately there were Liverpool fans who paid
hard-earned money and a lot of fans went to great sacrifice to get their
tickets and they got to the stadium and were told there was no more room," said
Hicks. "Were they mad? Sure they were mad and I don't blame them."
It's refreshing to see the co-owner of Liverpool FC stand up
to UEFA in this way, and it's hoped that the club push UEFA all the way to an
unreserved apology for their words and actions. It's hard to see how William
Gaillard can keep his job, unless he can say on whose behalf he was speaking.
Liverpool must not let this go. At the same time we know that a few of our own
idiots took advantage of UEFA's poor organisation, and we need to do what we
can to find any of those responsible. Liverpool, Milan and UEFA also need to
look at how touts managed to get hold of so many tickets. But overall, UEFA
need to hold up their hands and admit they failed to organise a safe event, and
failed provide what many locked-out fans had paid for.