Riots before the Champions League final: a failed picture of Paris

Two days after the Champions League final in Paris, the controversy continued over the chaos in front of the stadium. After a crisis meeting with the sports and UEFA minister, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin insisted on Monday that Liverpool fans were primarily responsible for the sometimes life-threatening scenes in front of the stadium. In turn, UEFA announced in the evening that it had requested a report from a team led by former Portuguese Sports Minister Thiago Brandao Rodriguez. The association stressed that “the comprehensive review examines the decision-making, responsibility and behavior of all bodies participating in the final match.”

This should be exciting because eyewitness accounts indicate that Saturday’s biggest problem was disastrous in a stadium that seats 80,000 which is aesthetically appealing but disastrous from an urban point of view. Due to the lower roads and narrow slopes to the stadium, it is difficult to ensure safe access for the public. The main stage of the Olympic Games is scheduled to be in Paris in two years.

The large number of fans without valid final tickets spoiled the balance of the police in Paris

Against this backdrop and with the Rugby World Cup set for next year, Saturday’s events represent a failure of the French government’s image – even if spectators there expect to match a different profile than football fans. According to Darmanin, the root of all evil was the “massive industrial” counterfeiting of tickets. In front of the stadium there were ‘30,000 to 40,000’ mostly English fans with or without tickets with the wrong tickets. It is doubtful whether this number is correct. According to Drmanen, he posits that the fraud was organized “on the other side of the English Channel”.

Liverpool manager Darmanin has accused Jurgen Klopp of being responsible for the large number of English fans not getting tickets at the stadium after commenting that Paris was “big enough to go there without a ticket and have a good time”. This upset the balance of the police security system, which had protected Darmanin from every accusation.

Thanks to their wise behavior, there were no deaths. This, too, contradicts eyewitness accounts, who blame the police for switching from apparent indifference to repressive behaviour. A video clip shows how a gendarme sprayed pepper spray on the face of a man who was completely calm.

Liverpool Police, who had sent officers seasoned at the scene to Paris, spoke in a statement circulated on Sunday of “exemplary behavior” by Liverpool supporters who traveled with them. They would have been to the field early. On Saturday, UEFA attributed the 37-minute delay to the late arrival of spectators.

Obviously, the biggest security problems arose on the route between the Stade de France train station, where, among other things, the regional train RER D, which was affected by slow movement, stopped, and the entrance to the stadium, where, a dangerously narrow lock was built that does not come through Only people with tickets. According to Darmanin, 70 percent of tickets submitted were identified as fake. This number is also surprising. Sports Minister Amelie Odea Castera spoke of about 2,700 people who, despite valid tickets, lost Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Liverpool. You must be compensated.

An eyewitness sees policemen pointing their weapons at the crowds in front of the subway

Problems also arose because tickets, which can be downloaded via the Uefa app, had to be converted back into a QR code – but before the match the cell phone network around the stadium collapsed. The Liverpool fan who traveled from Switzerland to SZ said the problem affected “countless people around me”. He legally bought a category two ticket for 450 euros – and it was finally passed without being checked because the pressure on the gate of the stadium in front of him was so great that the stewards let him in, trusting his pass.

The eyewitness also noted that Liverpool fans had lined up in front of Tor R, apparently prompting them to enter. The reaction was that the gate was shut for about 15 minutes, fans piled in front of it, and people were pushed toward the fences – less than an hour before the originally planned match began. At the same time, the rush to the entrances was so great that the surrounding path was finally opened to clear the way for the fans to the stadium. There was such a huge traffic jam that relatives of the Real Madrid and Liverpool players were only at the stadium after 9pm.

The way back for fans was also frighteningly turbulent. As before the match, there were robberies on the way to the metro station, apparently committed by local youth.

A correspondent for the Spanish radio station RNE in Paris told SZ that after arresting a handful of thieves, the French police officers, looking exhausted, pointed their weapons toward the crowd, possibly to prevent the prisoners from being released. The eyewitness said he did not want to imagine what would have happened if a shot had been fired accidentally in the crowded crowd. The stampede was inevitable.

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