Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has described the UEFA spokesman who labeled the team's supporters as the worst in Europe as a "clown."
UEFA's William Gaillard said Liverpool's followers were frequently guilty of misbehavior at European games in recent seasons and were the cause of forged and stolen ticket problems that briefly led to trouble before the May 23 Champions League final against AC Milan in Athens.
European soccer's governing body will present a report of the trouble to Britain's Sports Minister Richard Caborn in Brussels on Tuesday and Liverpool has already countered with a robust defense of its fans.
Hicks, who also owns baseball's Texas Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars, rejected the criticism and hit out at Gaillard for his remarks.
"I thought the guy, the clown from UEFA that said that, doesn't know what he's talking about," the American businessman, who co-owns the Reds with George Gillett Jr. of the Montreal Canadiens, told Sky Sports News on Tuesday. "UEFA did not handle this right at all. To give 17,000 tickets to the two teams, particularly knowing Liverpool are going to bring 40,000 fans, is insane."
Hicks said that Gaillard may have been trying to deflect criticism away from UEFA.
"It's a classic case of a bureaucrat trying to take the pressure off himself," he said. "They didn't handle it right. They didn't have proper ticketing procedures and unfortunately there were counterfeit tickets and unfortunately there were Liverpool fans who paid their hard-earned money and a lot of fans went to great sacrifice to get their tickets and they get to the stadium and were told there is no more room.
"Were they mad? Sure they were mad. But I don't blame them."
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