The president of the Liverpool club demanded an apology from the French authorities on Tuesday, following the comments of Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior and Amélie Ouéda-Castera, Minister of Sports, on the incidents at the Stade de France. The latter had in particular pointed the finger at the responsibility of the English supporters in the course of events.
A chaotic final that turns into a rat race: three days after the organizational failures around the Stade de France, anger persists in Liverpool, whose president on Tuesday demanded an apology from the French authorities for having pointed the finger at Reds supporters . Like many fans of his club, back from Paris, where the Champions League final lost to Real Madrid (1-0) gave rise to scenes of pre-match chaos, Liverpool president Tom Werner is unworthy. He wrote it in a letter addressed to the French Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castera, of which the local daily Liverpool Echo obtained a copy.
“Total disbelief” in the face of the government’s comments
In question, the remarks in a press briefing on Monday by Amélie Oudéa-Castera and the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, who repeated what they have been saying since Saturday evening: the British supporters would be largely responsible for the mess. in Saint-Denis, at the gates of Paris, with a “massive, industrial and organized fraud of counterfeit banknotes”. The sports minister further said that Liverpool “have left their supporters in the wild”.
These charges bring back to Liverpool supporters the horrible memories of the Hillsborough disaster which left 97 dead in 1989 in a mob for which Reds fans had long been held responsible before the bad decisions of the police. are not recognised.
Tom Werner expressed his “total disbelief” that Amélie Oudéa-Castera could make “a series of unproven statements on a subject of such importance”, even before a thorough investigation was held. “Your comments are irresponsible, unprofessional and totally disrespectful of the thousands of physically and emotionally hurt fans,” he added, saying he had received countless emails from “scared” supporters and denouncing “a strategy seeking to attribute the fault of others”.
“On behalf of all the fans who have experienced this nightmare, I ask for an apology from you, and an assurance that the French authorities and UEFA will allow an independent and transparent investigation to take place,” he said. he added, as the European football body confirmed on Monday that it would commission an “independent report”. “Everyone’s priority should be to complete the investigation rather than making inflammatory remarks to try to clear themselves of what happened on Saturday night,” added the club’s general manager Billy Hogan on the Liverpool website.
Figures inflated by the government?
According to Gérald Darmanin, “30,000 to 40,000 English supporters found themselves at the Stade de France, either without a ticket or with falsified tickets”. This situation has, according to the authorities, contributed to significantly inflate the crowd which thronged at the gates of the Stade de France and led to endless queues, a massive congestion which did not cause any serious injuries. But the figures put forward are disputed, including on the French side, where the head of a large group of supporters, present on Saturday at the Stade de France, evokes a “lie”. “There were a few supporters with counterfeit tickets, but not thousands,” he told AFP.
“30 to 40,000 counterfeit tickets, that seems very, very big to me”, confirmed for his part the former deputy Generation (s) Regis Juanico, specialist in sports issues. “I await the hearing of the two ministers on Wednesday in the Senate to find out more”. The meeting is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. The English press believes that this thesis of a massive fraud makes it possible to exonerate the French authorities from any responsibility in the fiasco of Saturday evening, where the police notably dispersed the crowd with tear gas.
Dated May 25, a note from the National Division for the Fight against Hooliganism (DNLH) written in conjunction with the intelligence services, of which AFP became aware, reported “about 50,000 English supporters present in the French capital (who) will not be ticket holders”. On the judicial level, six men will be tried in Bobigny, competent for the department of Seine-Saint-Denis where the Stade de France is located, for thefts to the detriment of supporters on the sidelines of the final.
France’s reception capacities questioned
And, twelve days before the first round of the legislative elections (June 12 and 19), the affair took a highly political turn in France, in particular on the authorities’ ability to organize major sporting events one year before the World Cup. rugby 2023 and two years from the Olympic Games in Paris. Deputy LR Eric Ciotti called on Tuesday for the creation in the National Assembly of a commission of inquiry into the incidents.
The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, ex-LR rallied to the presidential majority, for his part asked for the use of facial recognition during large sporting events. “I would like us to finally put a stop to what the CNIL prohibits us, this kind of dusty institution which prohibits the use of facial recognition”, declared the city councilor on Europe 1.
All eyes are now on the next match at the Stade de France, the France-Denmark meeting in the League of Nations (8:45 p.m.), a poster that promises to be sold out. RATP trade union organizations have launched a new call for a strike on RER B for Friday, after their movement on Saturday which may have accentuated the dysfunctions, since many Reds supporters had fallen back on RER D, a source of bottlenecks on arrival. “We are organizing a match, there are very regularly at the Stade de France and very regularly, things are going well”, played down the mayor of Saint-Denis Mathieu Hanotin on BFMTV on Tuesday.
The boss of the 2024 Olympics Tony Estanguet wanted to be reassuring: he explained to AFP that it was necessary to “learn lessons” from the fiasco at the Stade de France, which will host the athletics events, while ensuring that all the world would be “ready” in two years.