(Paris) An unchanged defense: singled out by the British after the Champions League final at the Stade de France, the French authorities returned responsibility for the fiasco across the Channel on Monday, again calling into question “massive fraud at the counterfeit tickets” from Liverpool supporters.
Updated May 30
UEFA, the European football body, for its part announced in the evening that it would commission an “independent report on the events surrounding the Champions League final” entrusted to an independent personality, the former Portuguese Minister of Youth and Sports, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, which “will focus on the decision-making processes, responsibilities and behaviors of all the entities that have participated in the organization of this final”.
“Evidence will be gathered from all relevant stakeholders and the conclusions of this independent report will be made public at the end of this process,” added UEFA, which will then study “the next steps”.
Two days after the scenes of chaos which have gone around the world, testimonies are pouring in, making it possible to identify the reasons which led to the delay of 36 minutes from the start of one of the main sporting events on the planet, this match won by Real Madrid on Saturday against Liverpool (1-0).
Jostling, attempted intrusion by individuals without tickets, supporters – including children – in shock at the intervention of the police or victims of theft, “it was absolutely horrible” around the Stade de France on Saturday, according to British MP Ian Byrne, present on Saturday evening.
“Treating the fans like animals in Europe’s biggest game of the year, as they did, is unforgivable,” he told Sky News television, blaming “a appalling policing, appalling stewards, poor management around the stadium, closed stadium gates”.
These comments echo those of the British authorities, Downing Street saying it was “extremely disappointed with the way in which Liverpool supporters were treated” and judging the images of the Stade de France “deeply disturbing and worrying”.
“Some (supporters) queued for three and a half hours,” said MP Ian Byrne, while others were unable to enter the enclosure until well after kick-off, according to numerous accounts on the social networks.
Others, still, could not cross the doors of the enclosure of 79,000 places.
Madrid supporters also recounted having experienced a nightmarish evening, like Enrique Cazorla, “socio” of Real Madrid since 1987. He told the daily El Mundo of having been targeted by snatching thieves . “It was the gendarmes who threw pepper spray and rubber bullets at us”, also told this man who, he said, was in his fifth C1 final. “We went down to the metro, but it had already become a mousetrap. Find a cab? They asked us 300 euros to get us out of there. »
“The fraud comes from across the Channel”
How was the long-awaited celebration of European football spoiled and could have turned into a tragedy when nearly 7,000 police officers, gendarmes and firefighters were mobilized, not to mention the private security guards? Why was the pre-filtering system, 200 meters from the stadium, quickly overwhelmed by the influx of Liverpool supporters and created bottlenecks? How did gangs of young people find themselves in a position to force their way into the compound?
The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, camped on Monday on the position defended by the French authorities from Saturday evening, that of a “massive, industrial and organized fraud of counterfeit notes” creating disorder, said the minister.
“30,000 to 40,000 English supporters found themselves at the Stade de France, either without tickets or with falsified tickets”, he explained to the press after an interministerial meeting organized on the dysfunctions of this evening.
This situation has, according to the authorities, contributed to significantly inflate the crowd which thronged at the gates of the Stade de France and caused a situation of thrombosis at the entrance, resulting in gigantic and interminable queues.
“We believe that the fraud comes from the other side of the Channel”, also launched Mr. Darmanin. The prefect of police Didier Lallement had indicated on Sunday that he had decided to take legal action for a “massive fraud with counterfeit notes”.
This report gave rise to the opening of an investigation, entrusted to the brigade for the repression of astute delinquency of the Paris police headquarters, the Bobigny prosecutor’s office reported to AFP at the end of the afternoon. .
In addition, 15 police custody were still in progress on Monday in connection with the events of Saturday, indicated the prosecution, specifying that there had been “a large number of complaints against X for thefts, snatching , even with violence “around the Stade de France on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of the Interior will organize a meeting with the competent services on the subject of delinquency around the stadiums.
The Olympics in sight
Gérald Darmanin estimated that “there would have been deaths” without the decisions taken by the police and the prefect Didier Lallement, whose methods of maintaining order are the subject of much criticism. Mr. Darmanin gave him “all his support”.
The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castera, who is facing her first just-named crisis, wanted to “draw all the lessons to prevent such incidents from happening again for our future major international sporting events”.
The Rugby World Cup (September-October 2023) is looming in less than a year and a half, then the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris in the summer of 2024. The Stade de France will be one of the centers neuralgics.
“We saw that we had to improve, a fortiori in risky matches, on certain aspects of the management of flows leaving transport in areas of first filtering, second filtering”, admitted the minister during a press conference.
She also judged that a “construction site” awaited the authorities in terms of “systematizing electronic ticketing and also to ensure that we have means of preventing fraud at this ticketing office”.
“The Minister of Sports has asked that we study that in any competition that can take place on the national territory from now on the tickets are unforgeable, that is to say completely digital”, abounded in the evening Gérald Darmanin, who was a guest of TF1’s 20-Heures.
Furthermore, Mr. Darmanin and Mr.me Oudéa-Castera will be heard Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. by the Senate on Saturday’s incidents.