Fifteen months from the organization of the Rugby World Cup, twenty-two from the holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, the hosting of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid on Saturday at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis, had test match value for the French authorities. The event turned into a crash test with the broadcast, throughout the weekend, of filmed sequences of general panic around the sports arena, supporters sprayed with tear gas, intrusions by spectators without ticket, law enforcement charges and, finally, a thirty-six-minute delayed kick-off. All in Mondiovision, followed by some 400 million viewers on the planet.
A disaster in terms of image and a “humiliation for our country”according to the senator of Isère Michel Savin (Les Républicains), president of the study group major sporting events in the Senate, who called for the creation of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the incidents, like several elected members of the departmental council of Seine-Saint-Denis.
If no serious injuries are to be deplored, 238 people had to be taken care of by the emergency services, 105 others were arrested – two thirds in Saint-Denis – and 73 of them placed in police custody. ” Shame “, “nameless scandal” : the European media, in particular the British and Spanish, did not have enough harsh words to castigate the course of the evening.
United in this bankruptcy, public authorities and organizers of the meeting were also united in their communication – or their silence, in the case of the Stade de France consortium, which manages the interior of the sports arena. Despite the damning videos and the heartbreaking photos and against the evidence, the British supporters were singled out as solely responsible for the fiasco. “Thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets or with counterfeit tickets, forced entry and sometimes assaulted stewards”advanced, Saturday evening, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, on Twitter, imitated by his new sports colleague, Amélie Oudé-Castéra, who castigated “Attempts at intrusion and fraud” Reds fans.
Monday morning, at the microphone of RTL, the minister estimated the number of people without tickets or holders of counterfeit tickets at “30,000 to 40,000, or nearly 50% of the capacity of the Stade de France”. UEFA, organizer of the event and responsible for security outside the Stade de France, limited itself to the dissemination of a terse statement of seven lines using the same elements of language with, notable difference, additional compassion for the spectators “affected by events”.
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