CCTV footage from the night of the Champions League final has already been deleted, French football chiefs have admitted.
Last month's final between Liverpool and Real Madrid was marred by chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France, which resulted in the game being delayed by more than half an hour with police using tear gas and pepper spray to control supporters.
French authorities initially blamed the congestion on Liverpool supporters arriving late to the stadium.
But those claims were immediately dismissed by numerous journalists who attended the match, who reported that thousands of fans were left waiting outside the stadium for a number of hours ahead of kick-off due to mismanagement by the French authorities.
Nevertheless, France's sports minister, Amelie Oudea-Castera, and interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, both pinned the blame on Liverpool fans – claiming thousands turned up to the match with counterfeit tickets or without one at all, with Darmanin describing it as "massive, industrial-scale" ticket fraud.
However, CCTV footage which could have backed up, or undermined, those claims has now been lost amid reports in France that authorities failed to obtain it within the legal time limit.
"The images are available for seven days, they are then automatically destroyed," Erwan Le Prevost, director of institutional relations at the French FA, told a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.
"We should have had a requisition to provide them to the different populations [organisations]. The images are extremely violent."
Paris police chief, Didier Lallement, admitted in evidence to the hearing that he had made a mistake in saying 40,000 Liverpool fans had attempted to gain access to the match with fake tickets.
"Perhaps I made a mistake with the figure I gave to the minister," Lallement said.
"I never claimed that it was absolutely accurate."
Questioned further, he added: "The figure has no scientific virtue but it came from feedback from police and public transport officials."
Lallement went on to admit that the police operation around the final had been a "failure" and apologised for the use of tear gas on supporters, while insisting there was "no other means" of clearing congestion at the gates to the stadium.
"We needed to get people to move back," Lallement added.
There were also violent scenes after the match, as local gangs assaulted and robbed supporters making their way to coaches and trains.
UEFA has apologised to fans and launched its own investigation into the final, which ended in a 1-0 win for Madrid.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
- CCTV Footage Does Exist Of Champions League Final Issues
- Liverpool Fan Sprayed With Tear Gas By French Police While Attempting To Show Ticket For Champions League Final
- Who Is Refereeing The Champions League Final 2022?
- Brilliant Explanation Of Champions League Chaos Shows Why It Wasn't Liverpool Fans' Fault