in its report, the Senate deplores a “lack of preparation and communication” from the authorities – Liberation

The senators pointed out this Wednesday the “dysfunctions” and the lack of coordination between the Ministry of the Interior and the police headquarters. They make recommendations, including the mandatory use of tamper-proof tickets and enhanced training for stewards.

Failures at all levels, before, during, and after the Champions League final on May 28 at the Stade de France, recommendations to avoid the repetition of “malfunctions”, but no worries a priori for the major sporting events to come (Rugby World Cup in 2023 and Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024). These are the conclusions of the report on the “incidents at the Stade de France” published this Wednesday by the Senate Law and Culture Committees. The publication on this “inevitable fiasco” was accompanied by a press conference of the senators and presidents of the two commissions, respectively François-Noël Buffet (LR, Rhône) and Laurent Lafon (Centrist Union, Val-de-Marne). The work is in particular the result of numerous hearings with the parties concerned, from UEFA to the Ministers of the Interior and Sports, including supporters’ associations, the prefect of police Didier Lallement, the RATP and the SNCF.

“A rigid and fragile device”

“Everyone was in their own lane”, notes Senator Laurent Lafon from the outset: the lack of communication and preparation of the actors prevented all the supporters with tickets from entering the Saint-Denis stadium in good conditions, leading to a postponement of the start of the match between Real Madrid and Liverpool, extremely rare. This evening of May 28, a strike reduced the number of RER B trains. Announcements were then made in Parisian stations to encourage fans to take line D. Problem: “These announcements were not provided for by the mobility plan”, are astonished the authors of the report. Nor was it planned for the withdrawal, by the Paris police headquarters shortly before the match, of the signs supposed to redirect the fans, once they arrived at the RER D station, to an alternative route allowing load shedding in order to return to the sports arena. That “constituted the second major difficulty which made it very difficult to manage the crisis”, we read in a summary of the work of the commissions. Crisis management that is all the more complex in that it is part of “a rigid and fragile device”.

The unshakable assertion of the authorities, according to which 30,000 to 40,000 English supporters with counterfeit or without tickets are the cause of all the evils of this evening, is swept away by the senators. Are these numbers true? “We take what is given to us”, objects François-Noël Buffet, questioned on the accounts of the passengers of the RATP and the SNCF. Yes, “there were more people” compared to the gauge of the Stade de France that evening, believes his colleague, but “it is not the number of people present that is the cause of the malfunctions”. Rather the lack of preparation and communication of the actors between them. Especially since if 80,000 people were expected to attend the match, the sports arena has already received much larger crowds for concerts without problem, note the senators.

CCTV tapes removed

What then of the communication of these figures and the designation of English supporters as responsible for the chaos, on the evening of the final, by the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, and in the process by the prefect of police Didier Lallement? “If you had told the truth right away, there would have been no need for all this”, smiles François-Noël Buffet in front of the press. And his colleague to point out that the minister’s expression was not “not up to the incident”. Explicitly targeting the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, Laurent Lafon never ceased to deplore that “the highest authorities of the State did not express themselves on these events”, adding that“it is necessary and useful that they do so”given the international impact of the case.

“What we will forever miss are images” video surveillance, also regretted François-Noël Buffet, in reference to the tapes of the Stade de France and the carriers removed without having been able to be viewed by the senators. The latter recommend forcing the operators of these systems to keep them for a maximum period of one month, but also to create “on an experimental basis the legislative basis” which would allow them to be used in real time to “counting and detecting crowd movements”.

“Defining a doctrine for the use of tear gas”

The law and culture commissions have drawn up a list of fifteen recommendations for the authorities and organisers. Jumble: “Make the use of tamper-proof banknotes mandatory” ; informer “in real time ticket holders of the modalities of access to the stadium” ; “strengthen the training of stewards and improve the relationship between stewards and law enforcement” ; “organize the access routes to the stadium by systematically planning sufficient relief routes (alternative plans) as well as evacuation routes for people encountering difficulties” ; or increase the workforce “dedicated to the circulation of pedestrian and automobile flows around the stadium”.

On the maintenance of order side, the committees wish in the future the “repositioning of deterrents”such as equestrian units on the sidelines of rallies, but also asks the Ministry of the Interior to “define a doctrine for the use of tear gas by security force agents which prevents the exposure of people who do not present an immediate danger to them”, like the children we saw being gassed around the gates on May 28. Finally, the senators call for making the surroundings of the Stade de France more attractive, to encourage spectators to come earlier and leave later, in order to spread out the influx of people in Saint-Denis. A set of conclusions that will be supplemented by the results of the investigation carried out for its part by UEFA, which affirms that its own report “will be delivered and published by November”.


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