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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 16, 2006

Armed men demand Champions League tickets

PARIS, May 16 (Reuters) - Two armed men held up councillors from a poor Paris suburb at gun point demanding free tickets to the Champions League final, French media reported on Tuesday.

The pair burst into a meeting late on Monday at the town hall in St Denis, the suburb north of Paris that is home to the Stade de France stadium hosting Wednesday's final between Spain's Barcelona and English side Arsenal.

"At first everyone thought it was a joke. The council offices were closed. And then, quite quickly, everyone realised it wasn't a joke," Francois Langlade, deputy mayor of St Denis told LCI television.

The hooded men clambered up the walls of the council building and through the window of the fourth floor room where the meeting was being held, declaring: "We want to see the mayor, we want tickets."

The two men put guns to the councillors heads, forced them to lie face down and threatened to shoot one in the foot.

However, the mayor, who is traditionally granted a number of guest tickets, could not be found and the intruders left empty-handed.

Police, who are hunting the robbers, were not immediately available for comment.

The final is one of the most eagerly anticipated for years, matching Barcelona's Brazilian world player of the year Ronaldinho against a team spearheaded by France striker Thierry Henry.

Tickets for the match are reported to be selling for between 1,000 and 2,000 euros ($2,561) on the black market.