Darmanin gives us his ticket – Liberation

The Home Secretary claims ‘30,000 to 40,000’ English fans came ‘without tickets or with forged tickets’ on Saturday night.

When it was necessary to justify the thirty-six-minute delay in the kick-off of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool on Saturday at the Stade de France, the French authorities and UEFA first of all put on the account of the English supporters, supposedly arrived late in Saint-Denis.

During the forty-eight hours that followed, as the controversy around the chaotic organization swelled, the same defended themselves by modifying the initial version. The fault is always that of the Reds supporters, but this time, a “massive, industrial and organized fraud, counterfeit notes” would be at the origin of the main failures in series, as denounced Monday Gérald Darmanin at the end of an interministerial meeting organized on the subject. And the Minister of the Interior to specify that “30,000 to 40,000 English supporters found themselves at the Stade de France, either without tickets or with falsified tickets”. Of the total paper tickets presented for pre-filtering, «70 %» were «faux» et, “once past this pre-filtering, more than 15%” were still, details Darmanin.

“Completely aberrant”

To legitimize these estimates, he relies in particular on a report given to him on Sunday by the Paris police chief, Didier Lallement. In this document, the latter estimates the number of spectators who showed up around the enclosure at “probably between 30,000 and 40,000 people beyond the 80,000 eligible in the stadium”. In the meantime, the Bobigny prosecutor has opened an investigation and seized the sub-directorate of economic and financial affairs of the Parisian PJ in order to determine the origin and the number of these counterfeit notes mentioned. An independent investigation will also be opened by UEFA.

Across the Channel, the carousel does not pass. “It’s Gérald Darmanin the fraud”reacted the legendary ex-defender of the “Reds” Jamie Carragher while the main players in British sport demanded an apology from France. “This figure of 40,000 is completely absurd.judge with Release Kilian Valentin, spokesperson for the National Association of Supporters, which brings together around forty groups in France. In any final, such a figure has never existed. Why, all of a sudden, would this be the case here, in a final at the Stade de France? he wonders. Whether it is the English police, the British authorities, the other associations of supporters, all have found that the number of counterfeit tickets and resellers was marginal. A total of 48 people were taken into custody, and another 15 were on Monday evening, according to the Bobigny prosecution. None of these police custody took place for acts of fraudulent intrusions or false entry tickets to the match.

“It’s not a discovery”

Therefore, talking about organized fraud is “a little strong in terms of communication”, believes Kilian Valentin. “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but it’s not massive.” He is asking himself “how the authorities count the number of counterfeit banknotes”even though several people saw their real tickets not validated by the digital system when going through the turnstiles.

To corroborate the statements of Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of Sports points to the choice of UEFA to have put paper tickets on sale at the request of Liverpool. Since Euro 2021, the ticket office of the football body has been moving towards digitization, using technology blockchain, considered more secure, with mandatory verification of the customer’s identity. «[L’UEFA] accepted that there was no exclusive use of the mobile application, which would have allowed for tamper-proof tickets. The Liverpool club has requested that there is no use of this mobile application. UEFA has […] therefore created a circuit of paper tickets which created overflows”, accuses Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.

Again, the argument “does not work” for Kilian Valentin. “Paper tickets are not a discovery, we know how to control them.” He recalls another obvious fact, which the organizers should have had in mind: even when they do not have entry tickets, English supporters are used to moving around and being turned away around the stadiums. “Either they come to see if they can find a ticket or it is to meet in the forecourt of the stadium or around. The previous Liverpool finals were planned and anticipated. This everyone knows.” Not everyone, apparently.


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