At this time when the speech of political leaders is often considered with suspicion, the fact for them to assume their mistakes and drawing the teachings appears, more than ever, as a democratic requirement of primary importance. The silence observed by the Minister of the Interior after the publication, Tuesday, February 14, of the overwhelming conclusions of the report commissioned by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on the chaos of the Champions League final, on 28 May 2022, at the Stade de France, in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), is, as such.
By pinning a massive manufacture of false tickets of which there is no trace, “the ministers, the police headquarters, the UEFA and the FFF [French Football Federation] have acted in an irresponsible manner” in order to “Exemption from the responsibility of the failures,” asserts the document. The story of the ordeal endured by thousands of British and Spanish supporters, reconstructed by the independent group of lawyers, academics and representatives of the associations of supporters gathered by UEFA, is terrible: these spectators, peaceful, simply come to attend to A big match, were threatened with crushing several times, attacked by bands of delinquents and sprayed with gas by the police.
Each time, the system put in place by the police is implicated: filtering on a narrow path increasing the risk of trampling, absence of police officers during multiple attacks near the stadium, closing of the doors , which trapped supporters, use of disproportionate and “potentially lethal” gas. All of these blunders are based on an erroneous analysis of the context: the denial of the systematic violence committed by bands of delinquents against foreign supporters, the fantasy of a “hooligan threat” erected in principal risk.
Lack of unusual sanction
Of these “failures that almost led to the disaster”, the prefect of police at the time, Didier Lallement, and the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, are not the only responsible. UEFA, “as the owner of the event, [in] brings the main responsibility”, concludes the report, which also insists on the accelerated preparation of the final initially scheduled in Saint Petersburg and relocated to Saint-Denis after The Russian invasion of Ukraine, in February 2022.
But the absence of sanction against a police prefect who had in no way taken into account the premonitory criticisms of the Federation of European Supporters on its security device and left its duties two months after fiasco , with “the pride of accomplished duty”, is unjustifiable. Just as the deafening silence of Mr. Darmanin, who has never explained himself on his lies about the “massive and industrial” manufacturing of false tickets and found nothing to say about the UEFA report.
Approaching the World Rugby World, welcomed by France at the end of the year, and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, it is urgent to revise the management of the order of major sporting events. The inflection in relation to the “lament method” observed in manifestations against pension reform shows that this is possible. To the Minister of the Interior to draw the lessons from the Chaos of Saint-Denis publicly, which tainted the image of the country, and to explain its method, so that such events no longer happen.