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United reject Lille claims
22 Feb 2007 - 15:03:20
Manchester United have denied claims made by Lille that their early distribution of tickets led to the crowd disturbances which marred Tuesday's Champions League clash in Lens.
Lille director general Xavier Thuilot claimed the early distribution of tickets by the Old Trafford club led to the overcrowding in an area of the ground.
A number of United fans appeared to be pushed against a 10-foot high metal fence and at least two people had to be lifted over the barriers to safety.
Riot police then fired tear gas and swung truncheons at those who were trying to climb over the barrier.
"All the forged tickets on the night were Man Utd tickets," claimed Thuilot.
"We sent their quota of places to Manchester several weeks ago, as is the usual thing to do.
"But the English club, instead of distributing the tickets to their supporters on their arrival at the stadium (or) on their descent from the bus, sent them out a month ago.
"The result - some very good forgeries, which have allowed some supporters to enter the stand reserved for them."
However, United have rejected the claims of the French club by insisting they normally send out tickets for their home matches well in advance of fixtures and have no problems with forgeries.
"Tickets were distributed by recorded delivery 11 days before the game or for collection from February 1," claimed a United spokesman.
"We would normally send out tickets for our home games at Old Trafford six weeks before the match and we have no problems with forgeries."
UEFA have already confirmed that will investigate matters both on and off the pitch at Lens - where the last 16 first leg tie was held in preference to Lille's Stade Lille-Metropole home.