Incidents at the Stade de France: what to remember from the hearings of Gérald Darmanin and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra

Incidents at the Stade de France: what to remember from the hearings of Gérald Darmanin and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra

Four days after the overflows in the final of the Champions League at the Stade de France, Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports, were heard in the Senate on the reasons for organizational failures.

Gerald Darmanin explained that he was speaking with the “concern for transparency”, assuring that “the government has nothing to hide”. He also said in his preamble that he regretted the criticism leveled against law enforcement. A total of 6,800 police and gendarmes were mobilized, he said, believing that the numbers were “largely” sufficient.

“Obviously, things could have been better organized,” he said. In particular, he pointed out the difficulties on the RER B and D lines, related to the strike. As of 7 p.m., up to 15,000 people had been massaged between the exit of a station and the pre-filtering area.

However, between 50% and 70% of the tickets presented at the stadiums were fake, according to the minister. Two types of fraud have been identified: counterfeit tickets purchased voluntarily “by leaps and bounds” and counterfeit tickets purchased “in all honesty”, according to the minister. This mass of people who could not pass the pre-filtering area, added to the incoming RER, led to initial problems, he explained.

With a pre-screening lifted, law enforcement intervened to protect access to the stadium

The pre-filtering was therefore lifted to avoid “dramas”, allowing everyone to pass, at the request of the prefect of police, said Gerald Darmanin. This, however, resulted in a new blockade at the stadium turnstiles, with even more than 2,500 tickets denied. These were either counterfeit tickets or valid tickets that had been duplicated by counterfeiters and whose holders had already entered.

This new blockade resulted in an influx of people against the stadium gates. Law enforcement was therefore deployed inside the enclosure to prevent crowd movement and contain pressure on the turnstiles. As the grids were set to yield in the event of too much pressure (300kg), the risk was an invasion of the stadium.

Gerald Darmanin said an additional 30,000 to 40,000 people, without tickets or in possession of counterfeit tickets, found themselves in front of the stadium last Saturday. Some were able to enter the stadium, but the vast majority remained in front of the gates.

Deployed police officers who can no longer fight crime

Regarding the numbers of arrests, 29 took place near the stadium, in connection with the sporting event. Another 81 were for crimes, including 25 foreigners from outside the EU, Gerald Darmanin said. The minister explained that the authorities probably underestimated the disturbances of public order on the sidelines.

This has been linked in particular to the lifting of the pre-filter cord, which in principle makes it possible to identify a protected area from this crime. With the police deployed to protect the gates, there was not enough left to operate against the assailants and thieves who attacked the supporters.

Gerald Darmanin has unveiled the possibility of filing a complaint from England and Spain for supporters who have had to return home.

Five points to improve

Regrets were expressed regarding the use of tear gas, especially in the presence of children, and for the 2,700 fans with valid tickets but not able to see the match. Financial compensation, in consultation with UEFA, will have to be offered to them, said Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.

In addition to this compensation, the minister named three other decisions taken as a result of the overflows: requesting an investigation from UEFA, including counterfeit tickets, making a public report and strengthening the management of major events, including risky encounters.

She then concluded by pointing out five points for improvement for the next organizations of sporting events in France: the management of flows, communication to supporters of public transport, security, a more effective integration of services to combat delinquency among those who have to manage the course of the event, and the more systematic use of electronic ticketing.

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