Against the chaos in the football final, France dismisses the blame for the mistakes

PARIS – French authorities were criticized on Monday, near Paris, after chaotic scenes of confusion and violence in the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, tarnishing France’s image as a host ahead of major sporting events such as 2024 2024. Summer Olympics.

But the French government has acknowledged few mistakes, and has doubled the chaos mainly due to the fact that Liverpool’s tens of thousands of fans have caused the affirmation at the Stade de France, the stadium where the match was held north of Paris, with fakes. tickets or no tickets.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in a press conference on Monday that the “cause of the chaos” was “massive, industrial and organized fraud of counterfeit tickets”: between 30,000 and 40,000, he said. Said was assisted by UEFA, the governing body of European football.

“Of course there’s nothing to be proud of about what we saw on Saturday evening,” he said. Darmann said, but French police praised him for preventing people from injuring or killing him.

Sir. Darman ruled out questions about France’s readiness for the Summer Games and the 2023 Rugby World Cup, saying it was “disproportionate”, blaming Saturday’s events on British feet.

“It’s clear in football, and especially within football, with some British clubs, that kind of situation is happening,” he said, although French football has escalated into violence, including on Sunday, when it was invaded by avid fans. The pitch of a match between Auxerre and Saint-Étienne.

British and French politicians have attacked French authorities for managing the situation and called for crowd control and empty security investigations at the stadium.

Many fans complained to the French police that the use of tear gas and pepper spray was aggressive before the match, and then, after the match ended, for being the target of the receivers near the Stade de France.

Optics was not good for France.

“Yesterday, 400 million people watched live on TV what I consider a humiliation for our people,” said Michel Savin, a right-wing senator who heads a parliamentary committee on sporting events. statement on Sunday.

Stéphane Troussel, head of the Seine-Saint-Denis local council, in what is now the Stade de France and where many of the 2024 Olympic trials will be held, said he was “very angry” on Monday.

“This is not the first time that major events have taken place at this stadium, as the Stade de France has been in Saint-Denis for 24 years,” he said. Troussel told Franceinfo. “This is the third Champions League final to be held there. I’ve never seen such a mess. ‘

Final, St. Petersburg, but moved to Paris after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is the largest annual event on the European sports calendar – the equivalent of the continent’s Super Bowl – and was an opportunity for France to showcase its organizational skills for large-scale sporting events.

But just hours before Saturday’s game, it was clear that something was wrong.

Crowds surrounded the area outside the stadium, which was reserved for Liverpool fans, with the club’s red signature corpses, and the staff in charge of checking tickets quickly flooded in. But inside the Stade de France, thousands of seats in the Liverpool section were still empty when the kick-off approached.

The start of the match was repeatedly delayed, and finally started 36 minutes late, and the French police rioting outside the stadium was in front of a crowd of crowds, largely peaceful but increasingly frustrated, many of whom said they had tickets.

Worse, it was the presence of local youths who tried to enter the stadium without tickets. Hundreds tried to scale the fences, and many were successful, as can be seen in social media posts. The police response seemed to be to throw tear gas at the crowd, angering and frightening the Liverpool fans who were waiting.

Police then took an unprecedented step to blockade the Stade de France, a UEFA official told them that it was safer to stay inside people trying to leave the stadium during the break. That advice was not given at the end of the match, however, and several fans of both teams spoke of harassment and robbery in areas around the stadium.

The scene sparked attacks on the French far-right French government, and jumped into chaos with the usual rhetoric about immigration and crime. Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party, told a news conference that “a bunch of criminals had come down to the Stade de France to steal and loot their followers.”

Across the English Channel, attempts by the French authorities to remove the blame for Liverpool’s supporters have only added to a long list of contentious issues in the astonishing Franco-British relationship of recent years. A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “extremely disappointed” with the Liverpool fans’ treatment, as the 1989 Hillsborough tragedies were particularly marked when 96 fans were killed in a stadium.

Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Writing on Twitter on Sunday, said he was “disgusted” by the French police’s “horrible management” and “harsh treatment” of Liverpool fans. He added that he had sent a letter to several officials, including Mr. Macron, for an explanation.

“It’s embarrassing to blame the fans,” the lady said. said Anderson.

Liam Byrne, a British lawmaker in Paris to support Liverpool, said he was concerned about what he described as a “false story” for fans.

“I’ve never seen a more hostile environment,” Mr. Byrne told Sky Sports. “From the beginning the police, the security, everything was horrible.”

The Merseyside Police and French officers serving Liverpool deployed him as “observers and advisers”. he said in a statement “Most of the fans acted in an exemplary manner, arriving early in their hats and queuing up as promised.”

After a crisis meeting with local officials, UEFA and police authorities at the French Ministry of Sports, Mr. Interior Minister Darmanin and Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra have regretted the fact that 2,700 fans have been denied entry to watch the match.

They also admitted that the flow of Liverpool fans approaching the stadium could be better managed, and that a few police officers did not have proper guidelines when it came to using tear gas.

But they said the Liverpool fan card fraud was mostly to blame. Mr. In Darmanin, 70 percent of the tickets checked at the initial checkpoints by stadium staff were fake.

“We prepared a lot for hooliganism,” Mr. Darmanin said, but “a little less” because of the unrest that occurred on Saturday.

It is not uncommon for fake tickets to circulate before major sporting events, and organizers usually have a plan in place to deal with them, including setting up checkpoints farther from the stadium. But many critics of France’s response say the number of fakes reported by French authorities was unbelievable.

Ronan Evain, executive director of Football Supporters Europe, an umbrella organization for fan groups, attended the match, saying there were some fans who tried to enter with fake entries or fake credentials, but those numbers were “marginal”.

“They’re trying to take away the blame from Liverpool fans,” he said. “I think they are choosing between an internal political crisis and a diplomatic crisis with the UK and have chosen the second option.”

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