French ministers to meet Paris police 'to draw lessons' from Stade de France fiasco

AFP - [email protected] • 29 May, 2022 Updated Sun 29 May 2022 18:01 CEST
French ministers to meet Paris police 'to draw lessons' from Stade de France fiasco
Police stand in front of fans prior to the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

French ministers will meet with police and local authorities in a big to learn the "lessons" from the chaos that unfolded before the Champions League final as questions arise over Paris' ability to host big sporting events such as the Olympics.


The French sports minister on Sunday said she was calling a meeting of security and football authorities to ensure the chaos
that marred the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in 2024 Olympics host Paris was not repeated in the future.

"The priority now is to identify very precisely what went wrong... in order to learn all the lessons so that such incidents do not happen again at our future major international sporting events," Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said in a statement, adding the meeting would take place Monday morning.

Initially the minister had blamed Liverpool fans with fake tickets or without tickets for storming the gates and causing the chaos that led to the match being delayed.

The meeting would include representatives of UEFA, the French football federation, the region of Seine-Saint-Denis where the stadium is located, as well as Paris police chief Didier Lallement, she added.


Paris and police faces questions as Olympics approach

French authorities faced questions Sunday over police tactics at the Paris Champions League final between Liverpool and Real
Madrid that descended into scenes of chaos before kick-off, with critics asking if the capital was ready to host the Olympics in two years time.

Liverpool called for an investigation into the treatment of their supporters ahead of the game at Paris' Stade de France on Saturday which the club said left thousands of ticket holders struggling to enter the stadium.

The scenes -- which saw some people manage to vault into the stadium while evading security and police use tear gas -- were not what the French capital wanted two years before it hosts the 2024 Olympics and one year before the same venue hosts the rugby World Cup final.

The French interior ministry said 105 people had been detained, of whom 39 were placed under arrest and remanded in custody meaning they could face charges.

UEFA blamed "fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles" for the 35-minute delay to the final.

But Liverpool said they were "hugely disappointed" that their supporters had been subjected to an "unacceptable" breakdown of the security perimeter.

"We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues," the club said.

Merseyside Police, which had officers deployed in Paris, said "the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner".

The UK government's Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told Sky News that the English fans were "treated with a very aggressive approach."

'Complete failure'

But French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin pointed the finger at Liverpool fans, saying "thousands of British 'supporters' either without tickets or with fake ones forced their way through and sometimes behaved violently towards the stewards".

Yet political foes of the government and President Emmanuel Macron said that the scenes pointed to wider problems in France and shamed the country.

"The image this gives is lamentable and it is also worrying because we see that we are not prepared for events like the Olympic Games," far-left French politician Jean-Luc Melenchon told BFM-TV.

He denounced "a complete failure of the police strategy... the people were treated as they usually are during any kind of demonstration. We can't continue like this."

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen told RTL that the world had seen on Saturday that "France is no longer able to organise major events without things degenerating."

French newspaper Le Monde commented: "The party that was supposed to precede the final... was spoilt and turned into real chaos."

"From party to fiasco," said France's leading sports daily L'Equipe.


Merseyside's leading regional newspaper the Liverpool Echo argued that poor organisation and not the Liverpool fans were to blame.

"UEFA's shameless attempts to control (the) Liverpool narrative show they'll never learn after Champions League disgrace," it said.

Aurore Berge, a deputy for Macron's ruling party, said Paris had "barely three months" to get ready for the final which it was awarded after Saint Petersburg was stripped of the event due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

For Ronan Evain, executive director of the Football Supporters Europe network, the events "raises the question of France's ability to organise events of this size".

"We continue to see the same organisational strategy that have already failed in the past. There is a very strong need to modernise the approach to securing these events," he told AFP.




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