Following the incidents at the Stade de France on Saturday night during the Champions League final, UEFA and the French authorities are offering a very different version of the facts from those held by supporters and journalists present.
What actually happened on Saturday night around the Stade de France that hundreds of fans with valid tickets were blocked in front of the fence? The kick-off of the Champions League final, delayed by more than thirty minutes, did not allow everyone to enter, and some fans, especially from Liverpool, did not reach the stands until a few minutes before the start of the half.
Other people climbed to the stadium gates to get inside without going through the designated entrances, while police used tear gas to disperse supporters. There has been total chaos around the enclosure for almost four hours, but it remains to be seen what caused these incidents: supporters’ behavior or declining organizations?
“Thousands of fans” with fake tickets
Once the match began, UEFA delivered its version of the facts on Saturday night. “The turnstiles at the entrances to Liverpool were blocked by thousands of fans with fake tickets that did not work,” explained the European Champions League organizing body. This created a pile of fans trying to enter.
“As a lot of people were still gathering outside after the excavation, the police scattered the fans with tear gas and drove them out of the stadium,” UEFA added. A version confirmed by Home Secretary Gérald Darmanin at the Stade de France, who spoke of “thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets or with fake tickets”, who “forced entries and sometimes attacked stewards. “
The whole government was on the same page, and on Saturday evening, the Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castér, also pointed a supporter. “Attempts to break in and deceive thousands of English fans have complicated the work of stewards and police, she wrote. Violence has no place in stadiums.”
The police directorate developed, suggesting that it was these supporters without valid tickets that “delayed the access of spectators with tickets”, adding that “rapid police intervention made it possible to return to peace and evacuate disruptive substances from the Stade de France.”
A spokesman for the Paris Police Directorate spoke to the BFMTV microphone this Sunday. “We told fans without a ticket to stay in the fan zone so they could enjoy the match,” she explained. Some tried to get to the Stade de France, and it was these fans who created the pressures and movements of the crowd by pressing on the entrance. to the first barrage and putting pressure on the fans who had tickets. “
Englishmen who claim to have been calm and disciplined
Fans, still traumatized by the British government’s lies at the time of the 1989 tragedy in Hillsborough, tell a completely different story. They assure that they were not late and that they had tickets. They blame UEFA and the French authorities.
“I’ve been to Milan, to Kiev, I’ve been everywhere and I’ve never seen anything like it,” a Liverpool fan told AP Harris. The Times, the BBC, Sky Sports, The Telegraph, ESPN, the Associated Press, the Daily Mail, all these media brought elements on Saturday and Sunday, which further confirm the poor organization on the sidelines of the match.
In particular, the British Sky Channel showed a small two-meter-wide passage in the evening, created by CRS buses, which had to pass 20,000 Liverpool fans before reaching the Stade de France. The Telegraph states that at this point, those who turned away had no escape and were only called upon to follow in their footsteps, which contributed to the general chaos.
The English journalists present at the scene also unanimously assured that the Reds fans had not arrived late, but two or even three hours before the initial kick-off of the meeting. According to Henry Winter of The Times, some people who were frightened by the situation even gave up and returned to the city, even though they had tickets to the match.
British journalist censored
In the chaos, hundreds of fans were given tear gas as they waited patiently and smoothly to enter the stadium. The video captured by TNT Sports even shows a fan scanning his ticket and being gassed by a police officer for no reason. English visitors and journalists claim to have seen no Liverpool fans climb the gates. According to them, they were young Frenchmen who did not bear any sign of belonging to the club.
The journalists who worked at the Stade de France were even gassed and threatened by certain people who were supposed to ensure security. “I was taken to the corner by security, he told me to withdraw my accreditation, then I was forced to delete a video of the crowd problems, otherwise I couldn’t return,” said Steve Douglas of the Associated Press.
Liverpool requested an official investigation on Saturday night, which was mimicked by British Foreign Secretary Nadine Dorries. For Ronan Evain, CEO of Football Supporters Europe, spoken to by AFP, this failure “raises the question of France’s ability to organize events of this magnitude”.
Ministerial meeting this Monday
During the day during the day, Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said she wanted to “analyze the incidents” and “learn all the lessons” thanks to a ministerial meeting scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. UEFA, the FFF, Stade de France officials, the Paris Police Headquarters, the Prefect of Seine-Saint-Denis and the city of Saint-Denis are invited.
Tariq Panja, a New York Times journalist, raised the issue of social savings that UEFA and the authorities may want to reduce by reducing the number of staff to keep the negotiations running smoothly. One year after the Rugby World Cup in France and two since the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France’s image was severely damaged on Saturday night. The work on its restoration is.