controversy over the organization after the chaos around the Stade de France

Spectators blocked at the stadium entrance, tear gas and attempted burglaries through barriers: the party that would precede the Champions League final on Saturday, May 28 between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Stade de France, won by the Spanish club , was spoiled and turned into real chaos.

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The kick-off of the game – originally scheduled for 9 p.m. – between the two best European teams of the season was even delayed by thirty-six minutes, an extremely rare decision.

From 6.30pm, many fans with tickets were blocked around the stadium before reaching the first security checkpoints.At around 8pm, things started to heat up and a few dozen supporters did not hesitate to climb the last entry barriers inside the sports hall. The police then used tear gas.

“The situation was almost disastrous when a bottleneck formed, after poor referral from supporters as they exited the RER D and then problems opening and closing the stadium entrance doorsexplains a spectator present on the spot. People had been waiting silently for hours as the mass movements increased. Some – even children and the elderly – were gassed or crushed against barriers. †

Rob Harris, AP reporter, explained in a tweet that members of UEFA even intervened to prevent the police from attacking the media that filmed these scenes. And his colleague Steve Douglas was forced by security to delete his videos of the stampedeon pain of being denied access to the sports arena.

Also read: Champions League: a large police force deployed for the final

False tickets and burglary attempts without a ticket

‘Don’t force entry to the Stade de France’finally published at 8:40 pm on Twitter, in French, English and Spanish, the Police Prefecture of Paris (PP).

Scarce for a long time, the stands that mainly welcomed Reds fans filled up little by little in the first period. Criticisms of the organisers, both France and UEFA, have been bitter among supporters of the English club over what… “fiasco” of organization.

2016 Olympic boxing champion Estelle Mossely was refused entry to the stadium by a security guard. “The ticket is cancelled, it’s nonsense, I’ve been waiting for an hour”she gets angry. A few minutes before the end of the first half, she is finally allowed in.

The PP explained that “people without tickets [avaient] forced the roadblocks and tried to break into the stadium to watch the game”† Attempts that, according to the PP, have led to “crowd movements”that justify the intervention of the police to “Deter attempts to enter the stadium, keep disturbances at bay and facilitate entry for spectators with a ticket.”

UEFA, for its part, explained this chaos by the presence of many false tickets. “As the kick-off of the game approaches, the turnstiles go off [pour entrer au Stade de France] on the side of the stands reserved for Liverpool were blocked by thousands of spectators who bought fake tickets that did not work”the European body stated in a press release.

“This created a backlog of spectators trying to get into the stadium and as a result it had to be delayed for 30 hours.[six] minutes from the kick-off to allow a maximum of spectators with valid tickets into the stadium”, continues the text. This explanation was then recorded by the Prefecture of Police in a concise press release at 12:30 p.m.

The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, present at the security headquarters of Stade de France, pointed the finger at the attitude in a tweet ‘Thousands of British ‘supporters’ without tickets or with fake tickets who broke in’ of the Stade de France.

The 2024 Olympics in sight

The organizational hiccup at Lyon’s stadium raises questions about France’s ability to control crowd movements and ensure safety during major sporting events. The 2022 Champions League final was originally scheduled to take place in Saint Petersburg, before its organization was withdrawn to the city following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She was repatriated to Paris, which had to manage the influx of notably 60,000 Liverpool supporters, while 20,000 tickets were allocated to both Reds and Real supporters.

Also read: Real Madrid win the Champions League after beating Liverpool

The security system – 6,800 police officers, gendarmes and firefighters – introduced on Saturday was to serve as a test for the Rugby World Cup, to be hosted by France at the end of 2023, and for the Paris Olympics, to be held in 2024. UEFA has clarified that it will continue “urgently” to an audit of the course of the evening with the police and the French authorities, as well as with the French Football Federation (FFF). For its part, the Liverpool club has requested the opening of an investigation “to determine the causes of these unacceptable problems”

“It’s the biggest game in European football, and the fans shouldn’t have to experience the kind of scene we saw tonight.”regrets the English club in a press release.

Place de la Nation, in one of the fan zones set up for the Champions League final, a member of the police intervenes after the match is over, on May 28, 2022, in Paris.

At the end of the evening, the prefecture noted that the spectators were dispersed “without difficulty”and that’“no major incidents were observed in the two fan zones”, in Paris’ Saint-Denis and Cours de Vincennes, where nearly 30,000 Reds fans painted the avenue red, in a good-natured atmosphere – save for an incident in a cafe, whose terrace was laden with batons by the police. That’s what the Paris fire brigade called “a fairly quiet evening” in terms of support.

At the end of the match, won by Real Madrid (1-0), Reds supporters did not wait and went to the metro entrances of the nearby Place de la Nation, where they turned on their last lights. Conversely, the French spectators celebrated Real’s victory and chanted “Benzema”mocking the English. Several groups of spectators remained in the square and threw bottles at the police.

The Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that 150 people were arrested and thirty-nine were detained in Paris on Saturday evening. A few hours earlier, police headquarters had announced that: “one hundred and fifteen supporters [avaient] suffered minor injuries, including four [avaient] were evacuated by the fire brigade. and that’“there is no[vait] there were no injuries to the police”.

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