L’Équipe report that last night’s chaos outside the Stade de France which led to the Champions League final being delayed was down to supporters without tickets rushing in, which called into question the organisation around the event.
Up until 7pm local time, the atmosphere outside the stadium was judged by police authorities to be calm, with only several people attempting to climb over. This would soon change as lines of fans built up behind the gates and several stampedes began to cause panic.
The gendarmes [police branch of the military] had set up a double filter around the stadium, along with anti-vehicle barriers and barrages made up of stewards. This led to a tightened control area and a zone which was surrounded but not divided up, in the areas leading up to the inner roads before the stadium
Tensions peaked between 8.30pm and 9pm when many fans realised they would not be able to enter the stadium on time. The T, U, X and Y were ostensibly blocked due to people without tickets entering, and who were chased around by riot police.
A police officer told L’Équipe on the night, “We’ve closed gate Z for the last hour because the Liverpool guys without a ticket were in front of those who did, and we couldn’t push them back because those behind were pushing forward, nor could we let them in. We waited for the authorities [the CRS, riot police] to arrive to help us filter out, but the order hadn’t been given from the command post. Nothing’s happening. We’re lucky that the Liverpool guys [were] patient and calm.”
Many English fans were nevertheless venting their frustration at the events unfolding, and the Liverpool stand in the Stade de France only filled up completely around half an hour into the game, with kick-off delayed to 9.36pm.
Questions will now be raised as to what exactly happened outside the stadium and whether the measures in place ultimately failed, despite the 7,000 members of security forces deployed.
Liverpool themselves have already called for a formal inquiry, while UEFA have indicated that they would “urgently examine these questions with the police and French authorities, as well as the FFF.”
Tensions also boiled over at place de la Nation, where the Liverpool fanzone was, with 500 people being evacuated from a bar after the owner called the police for help, as explained by the Paris police authorities. The crowd left amid tear gas and several clashes with police.