French PM Manuel Valls has admitted it was mistake to take his kids on the government plane. Photo: AFP
Manuel Valls, a fan of his native Barcelona, faced a torrent of criticism for his visit to the game in the Olympic Stadium which did not appear on his official agenda.
He said he was invited by European football boss Michel Platini to discuss next year’s Euro-2016 championships in France, but this did not calm the storm and Valls finally vowed to refund the cost of the trip for his two children.
His decision to take a Falcon jet to the game went down badly in a country where one in 10 is unemployed, and he later admitted it was a “blunder.”
“I gave the impression to the French people that I had not devoted myself to them. I am sorry,” said the contrite premier.
The payment from his personal chequebook will take a complicated route.
Valls made the cheque out to the public treasury but it will eventually return to… the prime minister’s office, whereupon it will be used to pay the air force for use of the Falcon.
The prime minister will at least have been happy with the result: his beloved Barca beat Italian giants Juventus 3-1.