Many testimonies and documents collected around the stadium tend to clarify the English fans. The French authorities will have to explain themselves.
Liverpool fans and local officials were furious at the organization of the Champions League final on Sunday after thousands of fans were unable to enter the Stade de France and were violently pushed back by police. The final, which Real Madrid won 1-0, was marred by chaotic scenes around the Stade de France, which UEFA and French authorities blamed on thousands of spectators with fake tickets. The kick-off was postponed by half an hour.
From Saturday evening, numerous testimonies from journalists or English supporters on the ground, accompanied by photos and videos, undermined this version and pointed the finger at a lack of organization and an overly aggressive attitude on the part of the police. “I’m not sure it’s possible to make an event worse even if trying. Absolutely messy and dangerous,” wrote former England international turned TV presenter Gary Lineker on Twitter. “Relieved to be out there. Police checks only after very narrow passages and even narrower due to the presence of vans,” said The Athletic’s Simon Hughes.
The Liverpool club on Sunday called for an immediate inquiry “to determine the causes of these unacceptable problems”, which was backed by the British government. “The images and stories from Liverpool fans and the media of their move into the Stade de France last night are deeply disturbing,” Culture and Sport Secretary Nadine Dorries said in a statement.
“I call on UEFA, in cooperation with stadium staff, the French Police, the French Football Association, the Merseyside Police (Liverpool region) and Liverpool FC, to launch a formal investigation to find out what went wrong and why.”
Liverpool police officers, who observed all of the European trips, had indicated that the “vast majority” of England fans “behaved in an exemplary manner, showed up early at the turnstiles and queued up” as requested.
“The only aggression we saw came from the French police, we almost got the impression they came to fight,” said a supporter interviewed by Sky Sports on his return. He also described attempted break-ins, but also muggings and thefts committed by young French people trying to take advantage of the crowd in front of the stadium.
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson also didn’t mince words on Twitter, saying she was “disgusted by the calamitous management and brutal treatment” being inflicted on supporters. It’s a shame to put the blame on the fans,” she added, referring to the allegations made by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and Sport Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.
According to Liverpool defender Andy Robertson, “pretty much” all of the players’ families have also fallen into the confusion. He said that one of his relatives was denied access to the stands on the pretext that his ticket was counterfeit. “I assure you that was not the case,” he said, explaining that he received that ticket from the club.
For their part, the Spirit of Shankly group of Liverpool supporters tweeted that the scenes were “completely disordered and extremely dangerous”. For his part, West Liverpool MP Ian Byrne admitted he had “one of the worst experiences (of his) life”: “Terrible security and organization that puts lives at risk,” he said.
Too many voices were raised in France on Sunday to deny the speech transmitted by the authorities and to point out nonsense in the organizational process. For Ronan Evain, Managing Director of the Football Supporters Europe network, this failure “raises the question of France’s ability to organize events of this magnitude. There is a very strong need to modernize the approach to securing these meetings,” he told AFP.
An interministerial meeting was convened on Monday morning to “analyze” what happened on Saturday. No apologies, however, to the thousands of fans who saw the moment of their lives wasted doing nothing but standing in an endless line.
#Football #Chaos #Stade #France #organization #singled