In the wake of the serious incidents that marred the Champions League night and the final between Liveprool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France, elements are resurfacing around an unfolding event.
Nearly 24 hours after the excesses at the Stade de France on the sidelines of the Champions League final, it is now time for questions and lessons. The Ministry of Sport also wants to move quickly and has convened a meeting with all concerned at 11 a.m. Monday to understand how all this could have happened. RMC Sport is aware of several elements that explain the extreme tension on Saturday evening that caused the kick-off delay (36 minutes). And many things happened well before the meeting.
Everything changed around 7:45 PM.
As usual for any event of this type (European Final, Euro…), UEFA delegates all operational, logistical and security aspects to the Federation of the organizing country. On Saturday evening it was the FFF that organized the final on behalf of UEFA. An amendment to the contract that links the FFF to the Stade de France has been signed especially for this event. The stewards around the fence near the gates were therefore the responsibility of the Federation. But during the preparatory meetings it was decided to have a much broader initial screening. Administered by the Prefecture of Police with the 93 Prefecture Reinforcement, it only allowed people with tickets or accreditations. The idea was to make the arrival of supporters as smooth as possible. This overall device worked perfectly until about 7:45 PM. It was at this hour that the evening changed.
Given the pedigree of English supporters, the FFF had planned a fan zone of the Cours de Vincennes for Liverpool supporters, a safe place where they could party and perhaps experience the match with some lavishness, but without appreciable risk of disturbing public order . There were between 40,000 and 50,000 on Saturday afternoon. From about 7 p.m., a few dozen of them were transported to the Stade de France. The FFF had not foreseen this. Why were so many supporters joining the fence at this point?
Liverpool’s request accepted by UEFA for tickets
The UEFA ticket office is now fully digitized and managed by blockchain, a decentralized and tamper-resistant security system with mandatory customer identity verification. Except when Liverpool wanted to manage its quota of 20,000 seats for its fans, the English club informed UEFA that it was unable to manage this type of ticketing and so asked for the option of issuing paper tickets. UEFA granted this request, which nevertheless increases the risk of creating counterfeit banknotes. She gave Real the chance to do the same, but received far fewer requests from Spain.
On Saturday evening, between 25,000 and 30,000 counterfeit banknotes were identified. Many of them were held by Reds supporters in the fan zone. When Liverpool’s red tide came out of transport at the Stade de France, the situation became tense as the unit quickly became unsuitable for managing such a crowd. A first breach has arisen in the pre-filtering. Law enforcement officers did not have the ability to verify whether the ticket presented was genuine or fake.
Arriving at the gates, the stewards had no control over events. They were confronted by supporters who were holding a fake ticket without knowing it, others who had real ones but couldn’t reach the gate and finally a population unrelated to the match, from the Paris region, who may have gone to the room of the Spanish supporters on the Mbappé file.
Reinforced system for France-Denmark
Police intervention has therefore become essential to clear the gates, disperse supporters and prevent a tragedy. UEFA’s decision to postpone the kick-off of the match was welcomed by the government. Two years before the Paris Olympics, the government wants all lessons to be learned on this evening to avoid such disappointments. The first elements should come from Monday’s meeting at the Ministry of Sports. The next football match is scheduled for Friday at the Stade de France (France-Denmark). And even if the context is different and does not cause any particular concern on the part of the organizer, the security system will be strengthened.