French Senate investigation slams Champions League final organisation

As reported by RMC Sport, the a group of French senators has this afternoon presented their initial findings from their investigation on the failures in organisation of the Champions League final at the Stade de France last month.

The French Senate has questioned various key people in the wake of the events that saw Liverpool fans tear gassed and large crowds accumulating outside the Stade de France, in a fiasco which was initially blamed on the presence of fans with fake tickets or without tickets attempting to enter the stadium perimeter.

These began with interior minister Gérald Darmanin and sports minister Amélie Oueda-Castéra, with representatives from the FFF, the Paris public transport authorities and Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne, who was at the final.

It was president of the commission for culture Laurent Lafon and president of the commission for laws François-Noël Buffet who presented the first results this afternoon. They began by apologising to English fans and indicating that more hearings would be taking place in the near future.

They then delved into the details of the chaotic night, lamenting the “rare gravity” of the failings in organisation, and the consequences which “could have been dramatic”. Lafon also explains that neither the French nor English authorities were able to detect the ticket fraud. He adds that the level of petty crime in the area had been increasing since 2pm on the day, while adding that preparation had not been sufficient to deal with the RER B strike on the night. Finally, he points out that the was the checkpoints were handled “complicated the management of flows”.

For Buffet, “the organisation of this event was the cause of the serious incidents”, in particular the way that the flow of fans into the stadium and from public transport was handled.

He also criticises police chief Didier Lallement for choosing to focus on managing fans rather than the petty crime that began around the stadium from mid-afternoon. The destruction of the Stade de France security footage was also pointed out as a “serious error” , while Lafont concluded that there was a sense that nobody was taking responsibility for what happened, despite the fact that everyone involved in the operation had failed, and all of the actors are linked to the State.

The senators have indicated that they would like to speak to UEFA over the use of paper tickets, having made a request but not received any response from European football’s governing body as of yet. A hearing of Real Madrid and Liverpool supporters has been postponed.



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