The Paris police chief assumed full responsibility Thursday for the "failure" and chaotic scenes around last month’s Champions League final and apologized for using tear gas on a crowd outside the stadium, including small children.

“I am the sole (person) in charge of the security in the Paris region,” Didier Lallement told a French Senate commission. “I, therefore, assume full responsibility for the police management of the day of Saturday, May 28.” He also praised police and gendarmerie actions around the Stade de France, saying that “without them, a tragedy could have occurred.”

The commission’s head, Francois-Noel Buffet, pressed Lallement about a security breakdown before the kickoff of the football final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. “We saw the use of tear gas. Honestly, we don't understand. We need to understand,” he said.

Regretting use of tear gas

Since the final started 10 days ago, law enforcement and security around the stadium have come under fire for dysfunction and crowd commotion that resulted in the match being delayed for 35 minutes.

Official ticket holders were stuck in queues for hours as the police fired tear gas in close proximity to the crowd, which included small children, as hundreds of supporters broke the security cordon and jumped metal gates to enter the stadium.

Initially, authorities placed much of the blame on fans holding counterfeit tickets or ticketless Liverpool fans.

But ultimately the disorganization raised embarrassing questions about France’s ability to host the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Lallement admitted to the “failure,” saying he sees the events of that Saturday night “with the greatest lucidity.”

“People were pushed around or assaulted when we owed them security. The image of the country has been shaken,” he said.

He regretted the use of the tear gas but said it was the only means available in the difficult moment to push back the crowd instead of charging at them.

“I think it would have been a mistake to charge people. Tear gas worked. I am well aware that people of good faith have been gassed, sometimes even families. I apologize on behalf of the Prefecture of Police, but there was no other way.”

30,000 - 40,000 ticketless supporters -- not accurate figure

One of the main reasons given by the sports and the interior minister for the breakdown in security was the barging of the 30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool supporters without tickets or with fake tickets.

The number was since rejected by British authorities and French political parties in opposition, who disputed the figures and did not corroborate with the events on the ground.

Lallement acknowledged the vagueness about the veracity of the statistics saying it has simply emerged from the feedback of transport operators and he never claimed them to be accurate.

He also said the 30,000 to 40,000 supporters were obviously not at the gates of the stadium, alluding to the special zone set up by police at Cours de Vincennes street in the 12th arrondissement for up to 44,000 ticketless British supporters to watch the match on giant screens.

Yet, he admitted to having underestimated the large volume of fake ticket holders at the stadium because of which the automated gates remained blocked creating a hold-up for the actual ticket holders.

Strategic information on the massive use of counterfeit notes was missing, he said, adding that at the time of checking the tickets, authorities did not consider it criminal activity, believing that some supporters were tricked into buying counterfeit tickets.

Liverpool mayor angry at French lies

Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotheram, who joined the hearing on video, accused French authorities of floating the deceitful narrative of “30,000 - 40,000” fake tickets and demanded a “full apology.”

A visibly upset Rotherham said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera tried to conceal the truth regarding the debacle at the stadium.

“This question of the tickets was used to create a false version of the facts,” he said. “Mrs. Oudea-Castera and Mr. Darmanin has put together a fake version that serves the interests of the French authorities,” he said, dismissing the bloated figures as “ridiculous” and “without proof.”

According to Florence Hardouin, director-general of the French Football Federation, 2,471 counterfeit tickets were detected in a three-hour period at the start of the match and nearly 66% were from Liverpool supporters. She said it was hard to put a precise number of total counterfeits.

Nearly 110,000 people gathered at the stadium which has a seating capacity of 80,000.

Rotherham, who attended the final, said he witnessed police threatening people. He held Darmanin responsible for deceiving the public and the media for blaming the mismanagement on British hooliganism.

He and several French lawmakers expressed shock at a statement by Erwan Le Prevost, the director of institutional relations of the FFF, who said CCTV footage of “extremely violent” incidents at the stadium was automatically destroyed, as authorities failed to requisition them.

“It is really worrying. It is essential to collect all the evidence for the investigation. There is a real problem. I am genuinely shocked,” said Rotherham.