Pictures of Liverpool fans massed outside the stadium gates and of police firing tear gas at peaceful supporters waiting to get in to the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid have caused fury in France and beyond.
France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has faced accusations of lying after he blamed the chaos on massive ticket scams, and has since admitted that the organisation around the final could “clearly” have been better.
On Friday evening France take on Denmark in the Nations League, with organisers saying they are calm about the match, when 1,400 Danish supporters are expected to be among the sell-out crowd of about 80,000.
A spokesman for the French Football Federation told AFP that there will be 1,270 security staff on duty at the stadium, a number decided before last week’s incidents and that is fewer than the 1,650 stewards who were mobilised then.
“This is a totally normal match, the like of which we have organised numerous times over the last 20 years,” Mathieu Hanotin, the Socialist mayor of the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis where the stadium is located, told AFP.
“In terms of controlling the flow of people this will be a normal match with normal security measures.”
There will, however, be 2,080 police on duty, with 665 officers dedicated to policing crowd flows at the stations near the stadium, and protecting supporters from attacks.
Police say the number of officers, many in plain clothes to prevent supporters from being targeted by thieves, will be “significantly increased”.
Fans are advised to plan their public transport journeys in advance and not take bags to the stadium.
Dispositif de sécurisation mis en place à Saint-Denis à l’occasion du match France – Danemark dans le cadre de la Ligue des Nations. pic.twitter.com/Pq1COy1Lun
— Préfecture de Police (@prefpolice) June 2, 2022
On Saturday some supporters reported being mugged or attacked by groups of youths who appeared to be locals.
As happened last weekend, transport workers on the RER B line – which serves the stadium – have called a strike, although transport bosses say that the service will be ‘quasi-normal’ with no need to change trains at Gare du Nord.
Police say they will have extra officers in place to control crowds at the station on RER D – the alternative train line to the stadium.
Pre-checks of tickets at the perimiter of the stadium will be in place from 3pm, which the match scheduled to kick off at 8.45pm.
France have not played at their national stadium — which was built for the 1998 World Cup — since June 8th last year, when they beat Bulgaria 3-0 before a limited crowd due to Covid restrictions.
There has not been a France national football team game at the Stade de France without crowd restrictions since November 2019.
Incidents at matches in France in recent weeks have not been limited to the Champions League final.
Last Sunday riot police confronted supporters with tear gas after an angry pitch invasion followed Saint-Etienne’s defeat by Auxerre which led to the 10-time French champions being relegated from Ligue 1.
“I find it sad because people come to the stadium to support us and we play for the supporters,” France’s Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, France captain Hugo Lloris added: “I hope these issues will be resolved by those in charge.”
“The final wasn’t only run by the French but it was not what we want to see. We like to feel safe and we like our families to feel safe too,” added the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper.
World Cup holders France begin their defence of the Nations League title against the Danes but are without coach Didier Deschamps, absent following the death of his father
They won the second edition of the tournament last year, beating Spain in the final in Milan.
Denmark were semi-finalists at Euro 2020 and will be at the World Cup in Qatar later this year, and in the same group as France.