“A chain of disruptions” and “errors in preparation” were the causes of the chaos surrounding the Champions League final.
“A chain of disturbances” and “mistakes in the preparation” were the causes of the chaos around the Stade de France of St Denis at the end of May for the final of the football Champions League on 28 May.
This is the conclusion of the French Senate’s commission investigating the incidents on the sidelines of Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Liverpool FC.
Lessons should be learned, especially for the 2024 Olympic Games in the French capital.
“The disruptions happened at all levels and not only in the operation, but especially in the planning. Everyone was in their place and busy with their tasks without any real coordination,” commission co-chair Laurent Lafon summed up the politicians’ findings at a press conference on Wednesday.
The enquiry report also explicitly criticised the “political will” to initially blame British fans for causing the chaos.
Chaos before Real – Liverpool duel
In the first days after the final, Home Affairs Minister Gerald Darmanin had particularly wanted to blame Liverpool supporters for the escalation at the stadium.
The final match of the royal class on 28 May could only be kicked off with a 37-minute delay. In the run-up to the match, chaotic scenes took place around the arena.
Long queues formed in front of the entrances, and the police also used tear gas in the resulting crowd. In their assessment after the final, the security authorities reported a total of 238 injuries and 105 arrests.
Paris police chief Didier Lallement had already spoken of “failure” on the part of his officers after the first hearings on the final chaos at the beginning of June and apologised to the visitors for the use of tear gas.
“It was a failure because people were pushed around and assaulted. It is a failure because the image of the country was undermined,” Lallement said.
Chaos also at Olaympia 2024?
At the same time, Lallement admitted that the French interior ministry had been “misinformed and perhaps made a mistake” in estimating 30,000 to 40,000 fake tickets.
The security problems had also raised many questions about the authorities’ plans for the 2023 Rugby World Cup and especially the Olympics in the French metropolis the year after next.
The report described the Champions League chaos as a “warning shot” in this regard. The scale of the difficulties had proved “that many adjustments need to be made”.