Didier Lallement made amends on Thursday during his hearing before the Senate to explain the incidents at the Stade de France on May 28, attributed by the authorities to Liverpool supporters. The device for maintaining order during the Champions League final has since been the subject of a lively controversy in France and England.
“A failure” and figures “not perfectly fair”: the prefect of police of Paris Didier Lallement made amends Thursday during his hearing before the Senate to explain the incidents at the Stade de France on May 28, charged by authorities to Liverpool supporters without a valid ticket. Spectators without tickets who climb the gates, supporters and families sprayed with tear gas, other victims of robberies or assaults: the device for maintaining order during the Real Madrid-Liverpool Champions League final, match the most important of the season in Europe, has since been the subject of heated controversy in France and England.
“It is obviously a failure”, conceded Didier Lallement, mentioning the people “jostling or attacked” and “the shaken image” of France, before the law commission of the upper house. “It’s an injury for me,” he added. The hearing of the prefect comes after that, on June 1, of the Ministers of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and of the Interior Gérald Darmanin.
Fans without a ticket, “the root evil”
The latter had maintained his version, much criticized, reaffirming that “35,000” supporters with forged tickets or without tickets had presented themselves at the Stade de France and would have been “the root evil” at the origin of the incidents. “I completely assume” this figure “that I gave to the minister”, said Didier Lallement, while acknowledging that he “may have been mistaken”. “I never claimed it was perfectly fair,” he added, while maintaining that there were too many people for the stadium’s capacity (79,000 seats).
He notably refuted having said that these supporters were all “in front of the gates of the stadium”, while several videos and testimonies demonstrated the absence of a massive presence of people around the Stade de France after the start of the match. Regarding the use of tear gas on the supporters, it was “the only police means to push back a crowd except to charge it”, which would have been a “serious error”, insisted the prefect, who said to himself “sorry” for “good faith people”.
Complaints in England
During his hearing, Gérald Darmanin assured that he had “asked for sanctions” from the prefect of police for two members of the police, guilty according to him of using tear gas “contrary to the rules of use”. The two administrative investigations which will make it possible to decide on these sanctions are “in progress”, indicated to AFP the entourage of the minister. “The decisions taken” made it possible to preserve “the physical integrity of people and the holding of the match”, nevertheless welcomed the prefect, recalling that the RER B strike had caused a massive postponement of supporters at checkpoints in the RER D exit.
From 2:30 p.m., it is the turn of several officials of the French Football Federation (FFF) to be heard: Philippe Diallo, vice-president, Florence Hardouin, general manager, Erwan Le Prévost, director of institutional relations, and Didier Pinteaux, security manager. Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotheram will also be heard at 4 p.m. He himself was present at the Stade de France and was the victim of pickpockets.
The prefect of police encourages supporters to file a complaint
British supporters who are victims of offenses can for their part file a complaint with the French courts via a dedicated form available since Monday on the website of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom. This form must then be sent by post to the public prosecutor of Bobigny, on which the Stade de France depends. The prefect of police said he “encouraged” supporters to file a complaint.
The French authorities have not yet provided figures on the number of reports received via this form. The Liverpool club had asked its supporters present on site to share their experience of the meeting, very quickly collecting thousands of responses on its testimonial collection platform. Real Madrid for its part asked on June 3 for “answers” on the treatment inflicted on its supporters during the final and called for “determining who are responsible” for the chaotic scenes at the Stade de France.