“These are overwhelming testimonies, which describe an apocalyptic situation”. The former Minister of Sports and current boss of the Socialist senators, Patrick Kanner is still blown away by what he has just heard. The senators of the Committee on Laws and Culture are completing their work on the incidents that occurred during the Champions League final, with a series of hearings, including that of representatives of English and Spanish supporters.
“Mr. Kanner influenced a lot for your hearing”, underlines the president of the law commission, François-Noël Buffet (LR) who had made things clear from the start. “England fans were not the cause of these incidents. They showed great control in a chaotic environment. »
The days following the final, the Minister of the Interior had not ceased to point out the responsibility of the English supporters in the dysfunctions of the device for maintaining order. “It is singularly only in football and with certain English clubs that there are these events”, he had justified himself.
“Disabled supporters were treated like animals”
Stade de France: “Disabled supporters were treated like animals”
The testimonies of the supporters, however, reveal a completely different reality. “I started to receive messages explaining to me that disabled supporters were victims of tear gas. Some feared for their lives, ”explains Ted Morris, president of the association of disabled supporters of Liverpool FC.
Ted Morris continues by delivering another testimony “of a 14-year-old boy, suffering from Williams syndrome, victim of tear gas, while waiting in line”.
Testimonials like that, the president of the association narrates many others. His association received 9,000 testimonies of “shocking treatments”. “Disabled supporters were treated like animals. The authorities were responsible for our safety and security. We were treated with contempt”. He concludes with even stronger words. “Gérald Darmanin is the shame of the government. He lied. And that added to our pain and trauma. I ask him to withdraw his groundless accusations. If he has the decency to do so, I hope he has the decency to resign.”
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In turn, the senators will apologize on behalf of France.
The Minister of the Interior had also denounced a “massive fraud” on the ticket office. “30,000 to 40,000 English supporters found themselves at the Stade de France, either without tickets or with falsified tickets,” he assured.
Auditioned by the senators, the prefect of police, Didier Lallement had however reconsidered this figure. “We never counted 30,000 to 40,000 people in front of the stadium gates, we suspected them on the outskirts of our roadblocks, that is to say on the arrivals […] Perhaps I was wrong in the figure I gave to the minister. I have never claimed that this figure was a few thousand perfectly fair, but it seems to me to totally reflect what the situation was” he had defended himself.
“The numbers don’t add up. If there were 40,000 people without tickets, plus 20,000 fans with tickets, plus 15,000 fans who bought their tickets on the UEFA website. That means there were 75,000 Liverpool fans at the stadium in addition to Real fans. More than 100,000 people, it’s completely absurd,” explained Joe Blott, president of the Spirit of Shankly association (Liverpool).
Gérald Darmanin had also put forward the request of Liverpool supporters to publish 22,000 tickets reserved for them in paper version. A request which, according to him, accentuated the fraud.
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“The Stade de France has always had a standardized use of paper tickets. In the Coupe de France final, it was paper”, Ronan Evain, General Manager of the FSE Football Supporter Europe)
“We haven’t had any incidents with Liverpool fans. Their behavior was peaceful and correct. I did not understand the words of the French authorities, in particular those of the Minister of the Interior, ”adds Emilio Dumas, supporter of Real Madrid.
During this hearing, we will even learn that stewards would have stolen tickets from supporters to resell them. “There were stewards who were 18, 19 years old who were there for the first time and who did not know how to manage a match. There is an urgent need to ask the question of the training and remuneration of stewards, ”insists Pierre Barthélémy, lawyer for supporters.
Ronan Evain, finally evokes a systemic problem of France in the organization of sporting events. “The supporters were victims of an old representation. The police headquarters has prepared for supporters who no longer exist who are those of the 80s”.
In view of the next sporting events organized in France and Paris, the Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games, he calls on France “to learn from its neighbors in a modern police approach”.