French minister holds press conference following Champions League final chaos

In a joint press conference this afternoon, French minister of sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and minister of the interior Gérald Darmanin discussed the chaotic events outside the Stade de France that marred the build-up to the Champions League final on Saturday.

The latter’s words transcribed by BFMTV, the conference followed a meeting with the police authorities, UEFA, local authorities and the French Football Federation. 

“We did not note any differences in our interpretation [of the events, between those present at the meeting]. The decision was taken three months ago [to move the final to the Stade de France] following the geopolitical situation in Moscow. Whereas we usually take 12 to 18 months to organise such an event, this was done in 3. We reget that there was a deformity in the way the Liverpool fans were welcomed, unlike with the Spanish supporters.”

“30,000 to 40,000 Liverpool supporters found themselves at the Stade de France either with fake tickets or without a ticket. On top of that, there was the RER B strike which forced them to use the RER D, which has a more narrow exit. What was observed was a massive and organised fraud of fake tickets. 70% of fake tickets at the initial filtering, 15% after the first filter stage. Out of 29 arrests at the Stade de France, more than half concerns Britons.”

“The decisions that were taken ensured that there were no deaths. The initial filtering was removed to avoid people being crushed on police cordons or on gates.”

“The tickets are usually electronic, but were paper tickets at Liverpool’s request. The 22,000 English tickets were all paper, which contributed to the massive and industrial fraud. 70% of tickets were fake in the initial filtering stage.”

“The French doctrine of maintaining order prevented there being deaths and injuries. Comparisons with the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup [to be held in France in 2024 and 2023] seem rather disproportionate to me, knowing that it’s patently only in football with certain English clubs that these events happen. I remind you that France has organised a large number of high-level rugby and football matches recently without difficulty. This was notably the case in the Coupe de France final.”

“In 2019, the final between Liverpool and Tottenham caused the same issues in Madrid. So did a final at Wembley a few years ago. There was also the Liverpool manager who called on supporters to come to France even without tickets. We found ourselves with tens of thousands of British supporters of which a section respected the rules perfectly. And a minor, but extremely lively, section which pushed the authorities.”


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